A new survey shows that most professors say higher-ed tech adoption is a major pressure point, resulting in anxiety and loss of sleep

Higher-ed tech adoption is more stressful than you might realize

A new survey shows that most professors say higher-ed tech adoption is a major pressure point, resulting in anxiety and loss of sleep

A survey of university professors released in mid-2019 reveals higher-ed tech adoption is one of their biggest sources of stress–a majority say they’ve experienced anxiety and both personal and professional tension.

The survey points to the alarming notion that college and university faculty aren’t ready for technologically savvy students who have never known a world without the internet or smartphones.

Related: The secret to edtech adoption? Make it easy

Male professors believe they are ahead of the curve when it comes to higher-ed tech adoption in the classroom, but they actually lag behind their female counterparts.

Overall, less than one-third of surveyed professors say they are prepared to equip Generation Z students for the modern-day workplace.

“Today’s modern learners expect their learning experience to be just as connected as their lives outside the classroom,” says D2L president and CEO John Baker. “If college and university instructors want to meet the needs of their students, they need to engage them technologically.”

The survey of 500 U.S. professors was conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by D2L.

Key survey findings include:

  • Women instructors reported using technology slightly more than men for communicating with students, sharing course materials, grading essays and plagiarism detection (64 percent vs. 60 percent). Men were ahead in one category related to classroom technology: using gamification to engage with students (42 percent vs. 33 percent).
  • More than half of early-career educators (51 percent) say students want more detailed feedback and one-on-one interaction than do older professors (41 percent), with only 34 percent of instructors ages 45-54 saying students want more engagement.
  • Instructors said additional support and training would help them embrace tech in the classroom (52 percent); 43 percent said more budget from academic institutions would help with proper implementation of learning technologies.
  • Faculty ages 25 to 34 say they feel the most prepared to equip Gen Z students for the modern-day workplace.

Rather than relieving stress, tech adoption is actually a key pressure point for lecturers.

  • Sixty percent of lecturers say they have experienced stress based on institutional pressure to use technology, including anxiety (25 percent), sleepless nights (20 percent), tension in their personal life (18 percent), tension with colleagues (17 percent) and arguments with students (16 percent).
  • Instructors ages 55+ were much less likely than professors ages 25-34 to say pressure from students to use technology causes them stress.
  • Fifty-seven percent of lecturers say students are demanding greater availability of course materials online, 52 percent say students want more online and remote working opportunities, and 40 percent say students want more detailed feedback.

There are barriers to faculty adopting the technology they are provided with.

  • Eighty-seven percent of lecturers have access to a learning management system. Of these, 54 percent use an LMS regularly, 24 percent don’t use one regularly, 7 percent don’t use one at all, and 25-34-year-olds use one the most, with lecturers ages 35-44 coming in second.
  • Forty-five percent of lecturers don’t receive IT setup support from their institutions.
  • Fifty percent don’t receive online educational resources.
  • Only 40 percent receive regular professional development sessions or workshops.
  • Fifty-one percent say that more support and training would help them embrace tech in the classroom; 43 percent said offering more budget would help.

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Laura Ascione