A student survey was administered October 1999 through e-mail. In addition, a student focus group was consulted during the Fall LEAD Think Tank.
|Population for survey:
Sample size for survey:
|10,000 students who had used IT labs during fall
Over 46% report an hour or more per week on-line time required by their instructors to carry out their assignments. Almost 80% of the respondents are enrolled in classes that require that they use electronic mail; over 85% use e-mail to work with other students (almost as common as face-to-face at 89.7%, and more common than telephone contact). Almost three-quarters of the respondents report required course web pages. Required use of other on-line resources (MELVYL, databases, on-line research resources) hovers around 30% for all types. Around 20% use specialized software only available in campus labs; a similar percentage are required to download specialized software for classes. An increasing number of students are using real-time electronic communication (almost 20% report use of real-time messaging) for working with other students.
Students rated the usefulness of course webpage features on a scale from 5 ("Very useful") to 1 ("Not useful). All features were seen as useful (the lowest mean response was 3.73 for class e-mail archive). The top five rated features were sample tests, course notes, general information, on-line ungraded quizzes, and interactive exercises.
|Description||% of respondents who rated it 4 or above in usefulness||% of respondents who wouldn't use the service|
|Ability to access electronic documents from anywhere (home, on-campus lab, traveling)||85%||1.5%|
|Shared electronic file space (Students could share and access documents for collaborative projects)||55%||17%|
|Ability to submit assignments electronically to instructors||74%||10%|
|Obtain assignments and handouts electronically||82%||5%|
|Personal web page||37%||32%|
|E-commerce (obtain and pay for UCD services on-line, e.g., tickets to events, transcripts, registration fees, parking services, housing payments.)||64%||17%|
|Description||% of respondents who answered "competent" or above||% of respondents who answered "none"|
|Using a modem||87%||4.0%|
|Web page development||37%||40.0%|
The primary means of acquiring these skills was "informally, on my own," with 23% responding "ask someone else (e.g., fellow student) who was already knowledgeable". Only 13% learned the skills through formal classes (at UC Davis, or elsewhere).
|Description||% of respondents who answered 4 or above||% of respondents who answered "not at all"|
|With regard to access to information||89%||0|
|With regard to computer literacy||81%||.6%|
|With regard to academic success||78.4%||.2%|
|With regard to supporting different learning styles||37%||1.7%|
Over 42% of students felt that they would use computers and technology for just about everything in their planned career, while less than 1% didn't think they would use them for anything.
|Choice||% choosing||"vs" Choice||% choosing|
|Receive ideas||60%||Create ideas||15%|
|Instructor's pace||46%||Student's pace||29%|
In an effort to gain more information about learning styles, students were asked to evaluate their preferences with regard to each of the following learning environments (5="helps me to learn," 3="ok for learning," and 1="can't learn.")
|Description||% of respondents who answered 3 or above||% of respondents who answered "can't learn"|
|Informal study groups||84%||3.1%|
|Class-assigned collaboration and group projects||74%||5.2%|
|Lecture (50 students or less)||92%||.8%|
|Lecture (50-100 students)||78%||3.0%|
|Lecture (over 100)||56.2%||11.3%|
|Mix of on-line/lecture||47%||20.0%|
|Applied community service projects||59%||7.3%|
The "helps me learn" ratings dropped rapidly as the size of the lecture class increased: from 35% for lecture class size under 50, to 6.5% for lecture 50-100, to 4.4% for lecture over 100.
Students responded to a question about what they would do if they couldn't register for a class for the quarter in which they wished to take it as follows: almost three-quarters would wait, only 6% would take it in a summer class, 3% would take the course elsewhere, and 13% would take it on-line.
With regard to course web pages, faculty and students consider general, static information (posting of general course information such as the syllabus, or examples) to be the highest priority. A key difference is that most faculty members see these course materials as purely supplemental (and available elsewhere), while a majority of students see them as essential (their grade would be adversely affected if they couldn't access a course web page). This difference influences how robust and reliable the course web page support structure should be, and whether 8 am 5 pm, M-F support schedules are adequate, or a more "mission-critical" approach should be taken (support 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, with failover and frequent backups).
Students' ratings of the importance of information technology to their university experience are higher than those of the faculty. Over three-quarters of student respondents rated technology as important with regard to their academic success, while less than half of the faculty rated technology as important to improving pedagogy. Almost 90% of students found access to information through technology to be important to their academic success; the number of faculty rating this as important was two-thirds.
When learning environment preferences were mapped against actual experience at UC Davis, in all cases, the percentage of students preferring the more active participation (interact, discuss, create ideas, understand, and proceed at students' pace) was greater than the percentage actually having those experiences. There also appears to be a difference between faculty ranking of the benefits of lectures to learning, and students' ranking of importance. From a list of learning environments, the highest percentage of students (92%) ranked lecture classes of 50 students (or less) as helpful to their learning; however, once lecture classes were larger than 100 students, a higher percentage of students found informal study groups, hands-on labs, class-assigned collaboration and group projects (in that order) to be more helpful to learning than lectures.