2011 Technology Survey Report: High-Level Findings

More than 1800 UW Seattle faculty, TAs, and students participated in the 2011 Teaching, Learning, and Research Technology Surveys, providing insight into trends that will help inform future campus technology decisions. Technology use is increasing, proficiency with and student access to technology is high, and technical obstacles are low. Here we present the surveys’ key findings. The full report will be available later this quarter.

The UW Campus Community Has a High Capacity for Technological Innovation and Adoption

First, as may come as no surprise, the capacity for technology innovation and adoption is high at the UW. Data shows that the use of technology is increasing. Overall, technology users rate themselves as highly proficient and face few technical obstacles. Perhaps most importantly, given the UW’s focus on serving the student community, student access to technology is high.

The Most Pressing Needs Involve Infrastructure Enhancements

The most pressing immediate needs involve enhancements to the UW’s technology infrastructure. Faculty and TAs indicated a need for standardized, consistent classroom technology. Students prioritized better wireless access throughout campus and better integration of course information in MyUW. TAs put Green IT high on their list of where the UW should invest technology resources. The continued increase in production and consumption of data by faculty, students, and especially researchers made data management a high priority for many.

Contextualized Support Can Help the UW Achieve New Levels of Innovation and Adoption

In order to sustain and advance the UW’s high capacity for technology innovation and adoption, contextualized support can be made even better than it already is. Survey respondents indicate that personal, local support is the most useful form of help (more helpful than online or phone help, for example). Because technology use varies across teaching and learning contexts, support from those familiar with the specific needs and obstacles of departments and programs would provide the best, most efficient means of help.

Using Technology to Promote Collaboration and Student Creation of Content are Areas with Great Potential for Growth

Perhaps the most telling indicator of the UW’s high capacity for technology use is the area of opportunity that emerges from the survey data: using technology to promote collaboration and student creation of content. Again, the UW’s commitment to students puts them at the center of technology priorities. The data shows that the student use of some technologies is growing more rapidly than faculty and TA use. Students tend to adopt technologies that facilitate collaboration, even when not required to do so by instructors. Use of course management software is outpacing technology for collaboration and student-created content, a trend that may bear tracking and perhaps adjusting so that student collaboration technologies are sufficiently supported and enhanced.

Look for the full report of the 2011 Surveys on Teaching, Learning, and Research to be published in this space in the coming weeks.

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