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Technology a key for students with hectic schedules, study says

Responses from more than 700 students show that the busiest college students lobby for more technology in the classroom

Technology a key for students with hectic schedules, study says
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Most students prefer classes with a "great deal" of technology.

Seven in 10 college students who work full-time jobs said in a national survey that more educational technology tools are needed on campuses, echoing research that documents a widening gap between student and faculty technology preferences.

Seventy-seven percent of students who work part-time would lobby their schools for more ed-tech options, according to the study, “Instructors and Students: Technology Use, Engagement and Learning Outcomes,” conducted by higher-education organization Eduventures and published by teaching solution company Cengage Learning.

The study, which included 751 students and 201 educators from colleges and universities across the country, examined how students handle hectic schedules that include full-time course loads, jobs, and extracurricular activities.

The survey was conducted in December.

The survey results were indicative of nontraditional students who find time before or after work to take classes and earn a college degree. Enrollment in online educational programs has skyrocketed in the past two years – especially at community colleges — as millions of adults return to school during the country’s economic downturn.

“Students live online; our classes need to live there as well,” said Ken Baldauf, director of Florida State University’s Program in Interdisciplinary Computing, adding that students’ technological preferences show that traditional classroom lessons might soon be a campus relic. “Lectures need to transform into brainstorming sessions, and textbooks need to move online to take advantage of the wealth of resources available there.”

Incorporating familiar online platforms such as Facebook or other learning management systems that have similar interactive functionalities, Baldauf said, would be key in satisfying technology preferences for students with jobs and family lives, and those with neither.

“They’re used to being connected to each other online all the time,” he said.

Three in 10 students who graduated high school in 2009 and attend a four-year institution hold a part-time or full-time job, while about six in 10 2009 high school graduates who attend community college have entered the workforce, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released last spring.

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