The Digital Revolution and Higher Education

A new report “The Digital Revolution and Higher Education” was just released by Pew Research Center.  This report is based on two Pew Research Center surveys conducted in spring 2011. One is a telephone survey taken among a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older. The other is an online survey, done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education, among the presidents of 1,055 colleges and universities nationwide.

The report is divided into three sections: Online Learning; Educational Hardware and Content; and College Presidents and Their Use of Technology. The full report is available free for online viewing and download.  It provides details on the use of online courses, future trends and the impact of technology such as increased use by students of tablet computers, laptops and other devices. Below is a summary of key findings:

  • The Value of Online Learning.
    The public and college presidents differ over the educational value of online courses. Only 29% of the public says online courses offer an equal value compared with courses taken in a classroom. Half (51%) of the college presidents surveyed say online courses provide the same value.
  • The Prevalence of Online Courses.
    More than three-quarters of college presidents (77%) report that their institutions now offer online courses. These courses are more prevalent in some sectors of higher education than in others. While 89% of four-year public colleges and universities offer online classes, just 60% of four-year private schools offer them.
  • Online Students.
    Roughly one-in-four college graduates (23%) report that they have taken a class online. However, the share doubles to 46% among those who have graduated in the past ten years. Among all adults who have taken a class online, 39% say the format’s educational value is equal to that of a course taken in a classroom.
  • The Future of Online Learning.
    College presidents predict substantial growth in online learning: 15% say most of their current undergraduate students have taken a class online, and 50% predict that 10 years from now most of their students will take classes online.
  • Digital Textbooks.
    Nearly two-thirds of college presidents (62%) anticipate that 10 years from now, more than half of the textbooks used by their undergraduate students will be entirely digital.
  • The Internet and Plagiarism.
    Most college presidents (55%) say that plagiarism in students’ papers has increased over the past 10 years. Among those who have seen an increase in plagiarism, 89% say computers and the internet have played a major role.
  • Do Laptops and Smartphones Belong in the Classroom?
    More than half of recent college graduates (57%) say when they were in college they used a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer in class at least sometime. Most colleges and universities do not have institutional guidelines in place for the use of these devices in class. Some 41% of college presidents say students are allowed to use laptops or other portable devices during class; at 56% of colleges and universities it is up to the individual instructors. Only 2% of presidents say the use of these devices is prohibited.
  • College Presidents and Technology.
    The leaders of the nation’s colleges and universities are a tech-savvy group. Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) use a smartphone daily, 83% use a desktop computer and 65% use a laptop. And they are ahead of the curve on some of the newer digital technologies: Fully half (49%) use a tablet computer such as an iPad at least occasionally, and 42% use an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook.
  • College Presidents and Social Networking.
    Roughly one-third of college presidents (32%) report that they use Facebook weekly or more often; 18% say they use Twitter at least occasionally.
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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in E-Learning, research and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Digital Revolution and Higher Education

  1. 國中生越來越多網路成癮的現象,個人認為這些成癮的學生只有沉迷上網卻無心正規的學習,已經悖離數位學習的本意。
    國內學者發佈網路成癮調查研究指出,青少年網路成癮有年輕化的趨勢,在研究的問卷調查中、「中學生」的網路成癮現象已經提高到12.1%,另外在問卷的電腦擺設變項,電腦擺在小孩房裡比放在客廳,較會增加青少年沉迷網路的機會;學者也建議家長要讓小孩找到現實生活的認同歸屬感,一味禁止、只會更增加孩童上網的慾望。
    亞大副校長柯慧貞表示青少年網路成癮以逃避現實壓力、尋找刺激感和交友為主因,無法和現實生活接軌的學生容易沉迷網路。研究中還指出電腦擺設位置和是否成癮為正相關,柯慧貞建議:「電腦最好放在公共場所、家人可以看見的位置。」

  2. E世代大學生 帶筆電上課才有安全感
    大學生帶筆電上課似乎蔚為風氣。
    「帶筆電上課,比較有安全感」,由於大學課業很重,加上必業要練習寫專題論文,必須常跟老師討論,「隨身帶著筆電比較方便」。上課時把老師講課的重點迅速輸入,回家只需蒐集資料即可,省去不少時間。
    不過,現在大學生更應該趁抄筆記的時候多練習練習寫字。
    現在各大學校園皆可無線上網,上課期間學生也會偷偷上網瀏覽或是看網拍,有時還會上MSN聊天。
    一堂課約有40個學生同時上課
    如果大家都帶筆電的話將會耗費更多電力能源。

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