virtual learning

College students: These are the top 6 trends in higher education

Annual survey reveal what college students increasingly value about their higher-ed experience

student-trend-technology68 percent of students said the availability of online classes would be important to their educational experience, and campus administration is all about collaboration.

These are just two interesting findings from a recent annual survey of more than 500 currently enrolled colleges students about what they value most in education, as well as what changes they’re seeing in campus management.

The survey, conducted by Vital Source Technologies, Inc., Ingram Content Group’s  e-textbook solution, revealed that today’s college students increasingly value online, social and mobile technology as essential educational tools. Fielded by Wakefield Research, an independent research consultancy, the survey of more than 500 currently enrolled college students also found more students are turning down certain colleges because the cost of tuition is too high and they worry about paying off student loans.

“Students and teachers alike are embracing new ways of accessing information, which lower costs and improve academic outcomes in both the physical and online classroom,” said Cindy Clarke, vice president of marketing for Vital Source Technologies, Inc.  “The findings validate students’ dependence on technology to increase their productivity and job prospects in this competitive, globally-connected world, while also providing insight into market trends that will affect the next generation of educational technology.”

According to the survey, these are the top six trends in higher education as cited by students:

1. Students Give Top Marks to Technology

The proliferation of technology for personal use has not escaped the palms and desks of students. Of those surveyed, 45 percent of students said they usually do not go more than 10 minutes without using some form of technology during an average school day.

Despite their daily digital habits, students may be learning to regulate their screen time; last year the average amount of time students said they could go without digital interaction was 59 minutes, compared to respondents this year who said they are able to hold out for 64 minutes.

When students are logged-on or plugged-in, survey results reveal the forms of technology used most often in their studies:

  • 62 percent use interactive textbooks with features such as video, audio and quizzes
  • 44 percent use mobile learning such as courses utilizing apps, social media and productivity tools
  • 33 percent use flipped classrooms including courses discussing video lectures watched prior to class
  • 23 percent use MOOCs, open online courses that allow for unlimited participation

Of the technologies listed above, students say the most helpful technology is interactive textbooks, with 31 percent agreeing the top benefit is that they make lessons easier to understand; 23 percent say they help them complete assignments more quickly; 21 percent say digital textbooks help them stay more organized.

Professors appear to agree on the benefits of interactive textbooks, as 67 percent of students say their professors frequently recommend they purchase the e-text versions of textbooks and other course materials, compared to 52 percent in 2013.

(Next page: Trends 2-6)

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