Thursday, April 26, 2007

Report about Two Campus-Wide Surveys about Use of Technology by Faculty and Students

Personnel in the Ball State University Libraries’ Technology Training Support Services unit are usually involved with a project or two outside of our daily training and support roles. This academic year, we were part of two major survey projects.

Fall 2006 Campus-wide Faculty Survey of Use of Technology

During Fall Semester 2006, a campus-wide survey of faculty’s use of technology was conducted. The purpose of the survey was to learn how faculty use technology and to compare the results of this survey with those from a similar study conducted during Fall Semester 2003. The procedures followed, and the survey instrument employed, were very similar, with some questions from the earlier instrument not being used because they indicated mastery of certain skills (e.g. e-mail) and some new questions added to reflect the availability of new technologies and services (e. g. DMR). Assistance from the associate deans was enlisted to request faculty to participate in the survey.

Over all, 580 faculty members participated in the survey. Of those, 87% reported that they can perform general computing tasks (file management, software installation, etc.) with ease or with some ease. This is a 7% increase over the 2003 survey results. In 2003, roughly 72% of faculty members were comfortable (ease and with some ease) with productivity applications such as word processing, presentation, and spreadsheets. This year 80% reported that they perform these tasks with comfort. In this category, presentation software use reports showed considerable improvements. The most impressive improvement was reported in the instructional technology category. In 2003, 43% reported using tools such as Blackboard, Gradebook, and inQsit with ease or with some ease. This year, the number reached 72%.

There are many reasons for the increase in comfort level with technology among faculty. Technology is certainly easier to use these days and students provide the gentle nudge for faculty to acquaint themselves with tools like Gradebook and Blackboard. Some of the credit goes to personnel in Technology Training Support Services, too, since the unit has offered 1,744 courses during this period and our figures indicate faculty attendance at 1,469 (not unique individuals.)
These figures do not even include the countless times we visited with faculty for one-on-one training. So kudos to the Ball State faculty who have taken the time to sharpen their skills! And a BIG thank you to all who have taken the time to visit with us to explore the best uses of technology in teaching, learning, and research.

Spring 2007 Student Survey of Technology Use
The Student Technology Use survey was the second major project undertaken this year. It was conducted during the first part of spring semester. An impressive 12% return rate confirmed what we already knew: our students are heavy technology users. Of course, there is still more work to be done.

Of the respondents, 90% report turning in assignments to faculty on paper as one of many options. Printing sky rockets at the conclusion of each semester from 1.7%, who report printing over 100 pages per week, to 37%. Even though a majority (86%) have heard of iLocker, only 48% report using it. With so many electronic file storage and exchange options — 82% report owning a flash drive — we hope use of paper will diminish gradually. In this regard, our technology training specialists are happy to work with faculty to help them discover paperless assignment collecting and grading options.

Technology Training Opportunities
Technology Training Support Services provides training opportunities year round. I invite all faculty to visit one or more of these sessions to explore a variety of educational technologies and how they best fit faculty classroom instruction and pedagogy whether it is in a room or in cyberspace.

For more information, contact Yasemin Tunç, Ball State University Libraries’ Director for Technology Training Support Services,, (765) 285-5902.

This newsletter article first appeared in The Library Insider 5(4): 9; April 2007.

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