Teaching with Technology

Faculty on the Fence About Providing Computing Devices to Students

According to our Teaching with Technology survey, 55 percent of faculty support the idea of their institutions providing computing devices to all students, while 67 percent like the "bring your own device" approach.

About a quarter of faculty (23 percent) fully support the idea of their institutions providing computing devices to all students. And another 30 percent are in favor of device handouts, but with reservations. These insights and more were part of Campus Technology's first-ever Teaching with Tech survey, which polled faculty members across the country about their use of technology for teaching and learning, their wish lists and gripes, their view of what the future holds and more.

Relatively few schools provide devices to students, and when they do, it frequently takes the form of subsidies that students can use to acquire devices from a fixed list of choices at the college bookstore. Nevertheless, a majority of instructors are inclined to like the idea to some extent. When the share of teachers who favor handing out devices is added to the share of teachers who favor the idea but with some reservations as well as those who could go either way, the overall count is 85 percent.

People are more inclined to favor the idea of students providing their own devices for classroom learning — also known as the "bring your own device" model, or BYOD. A solid third (33 percent) said they would go with that approach "absolutely." Another third (34 percent) would choose that approach with some reservations. And a quarter could go either way.

A minority of institutions provides computing devices to students, and in most cases it's only to some students.

Typically, it's left up to the student to decide whether or not to provide his or her own computing device. Nearly six in 10 colleges and universities (56 percent) have no requirement that students come to class with computers.

Because computing devices need internet connectivity to be useful to most students, we also asked faculty about their perceptions regarding student internet access. Our respondents estimate on average that about 82 percent of their students can get online at home. Almost seven in 10 faculty (69 percent) believe that between 51 and 100 percent of their students have internet connectivity. Also, few institutions provide a means for students to get internet access at home if they're unable to afford it. The presumption in post-secondary education is probably that students can use campus resources when they need to get online to do school work.

That isn't necessarily sufficient for one business professor at a New York for-profit college, who suggested that "school supplies" start including the addition of "some sort of internet access package for all students," so that lack of access outside of college "goes away as an issue."

The full results of the Teaching with Technology Survey appear in the August/September digital issue of Campus Technology. Highlights from the survey will also be posted on this site over the coming months. You can check back for ongoing coverage in our Research section.

Who Responded

There are a lot of people who play a part or have a vested interest in the use of technology in colleges and universities. But for the sake of this survey, CT wanted to find out what faculty thought about the topic, so we targeted our questions to that role within the institution. Everybody else who responded to the survey was eliminated from the results we're sharing with you here.

We were left with 524 qualified participants who held faculty roles. Of those, 69 percent work in public institutions, 23 percent in private not-for-profit colleges and another 8 percent work in private for-profit schools. Seven in 10 institutions (71 percent) run four-year programs; the other 29 percent run two-year programs.

Our typical respondent has spent an average of 21 years in the field. Nearly half of the respondents (49 percent) have 21 years or more of experience working in higher education; the next largest group (33 percent) has between 11 and 20 years.

The respondents come from a gamut of school and college types. The top three most represented are education (19 percent), business (14 percent) and liberal arts (10 percent). Every other discipline has single-digit representation.

The average size of the institution's student body in our survey is 13,886. However, nearly six in 10 respondents work in colleges or universities with fewer than 10,000 students.

Respondents come from almost every state in the union, with particularly high representation from California, Florida, Texas, New York and Ohio, in that order. (We apologize to our Canadian respondents who felt unloved; next year we'll be sure to include your provinces as well.)

About the Authors

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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