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Survey: More than Half of Faculty Believe Classroom Tech Increases Student Engagement

instructor with college students using technology

In a recent survey, 54 percent of faculty respondents said they believe adding more technology to their classroom would definitely increase student engagement. And another 35 percent felt adding more tech could possibly do so. The survey, conducted by Censuswide on behalf of learning management company D2L, polled 500 university professors across the United States on their use of technology, students' expectations, institutional support for tech and more.

Overall, 92 percent of faculty said their adoption of technology was on par with or ahead of the curve compared to other educators at similar institutions. Male respondents were significantly more confident in their technology use than females, with 49 percent of men considering themselves ahead of the curve compared with 39 percent of women. Yet when asked about six specific uses of technology for teaching, women reported more technology use than men in nearly every category: communicating with students electronically; accessing and sharing course materials online; making or editing essays online; utilizing online forums; and automated plagiarism detection. In just one area — using gamification to engage with students — did men report the technology use in greater numbers than women.

The biggest thing university administration can do to get faculty to embrace tech in the classroom, respondents said, is offer more support and training for educators (cited by 52 percent of respondents). Other popular suggestions included offering more budget (44 percent), offering more support and training for students (41 percent) and setting aside time to get the technology set up (34 percent).

Respondents reported various levels of support from their institution when it comes to the successful integration of technology in the classroom. Fifty-five percent of faculty said they receive IT setup support; 50 percent have access to online educational resources; 40 percent receive regular professional development sessions/workshops; 36 percent cited faculty peer knowledge exchange; 33 percent have the benefit of technology mentors or instructional designers; and 31 percent are able to attend technology-focused conferences.

As for students' expectations for the learning experience, the top two demands cited by respondents were greater availability of course materials (56 percent) and more online and remote working options (53 percent). Forty-two percent of respondents said students want more one-on-one interaction; 40.4 percent said more detailed feedback; and 34 percent said more contact hours every week.

The survey also covered faculty members' concerns about a variety of technology issues. Fifty-six percent of respondents expressed concern about data breaches. The No. 2 concern (52 percent) was the possibility of students becoming too reliant on technology. Other concerns included data privacy rules (48 percent), cyberbullying (48 percent) and the rise of artificial intelligence (26 percent).    

For more survey findings, including breakdowns by instructor gender and age, visit the D2L site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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