Teaching with Technology

35 Percent of Faculty Feel They Need More IT Support

More than a third of educators in our 2016 Teaching with Technology survey said they lack access to adequate support and training for the technology in use at their institutions.

About two-thirds of educators (65 percent) feel sufficiently supported in their use of technology on campus. That leaves a third who aren't getting the help they need, according to Campus Technology's 2016 Teaching with Technology survey. The survey 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.

It seems, though, that most faculty don't need all that much help. A large majority of educators in our survey are fairly confident about their abilities to use technology: A solid 79 percent said their tech skills are "maxed out" or that they know enough to "get the job done" and adapt to new tech "quickly." On the other end, a tiny number of respondents (less than 3 percent) acknowledged that they have tech skills that are "below average" or even nonexistent.

However, faculty aren't so confident of the technical abilities of their students. More than half (52 percent) said students are only average in this area. Fewer — 39 percent — said their students are either excellent or above average.

As a natural sciences faculty member at a community college in Nebraska asserted, "While students know games and Facebook pretty well, they seem to be almost totally clueless about school- or office-use software that is about work rather than entertainment."

When help is needed, more instructors (30 percent) turn to the help desk or the IT department first, before any other source of assistance. That's followed by online searching (29 percent) and peers and instructional technologists (16 percent each). All other options received single-digit responses.

One category that isn't fully represented in any of these choices is self-service training. "I appreciate that my institution has made Lynda.com free to all faculty," emphasized a liberal arts instructor in Texas. This video streaming course service "helps when trying to learn new tech skills, which we can then share with our students."

Another area left uncovered in the survey questions: training in the use of pedagogy to support instruction with technology. "I fully believe that more instructors need professional development pertaining to the effective implementation of technology," insisted an education instructor at a four-year not-for-profit in Kentucky. The two models or frameworks she specifically cited were TPACK and SAMR, both more commonly known in the K-12 world.

One respondent, a faculty member in the library of an Indiana university, advised the integration of instructional designers into academic departments. She also recommended that we all stop viewing online classes as something "new and innovative." By now, she said, those should just be "part of the regular teaching landscape."

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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