Data Dump for July 2023

Americans’ confidence in higher education has fallen to 36%, sharply lower than in two prior readings in 2015 (57%) and 2018 (48%). In addition to the 17% of U.S. adults who have “a great deal” and 19% “quite a lot” of confidence, 40% have “some” and 22% “very little” confidence.

The latest decline in the public’s trust in higher education is from a June Gallup poll that also found confidence in 16 other institutions has been waning in recent years. Many of these entities, which are tracked more often than higher education, are now also at or near their lowest points in confidence. Although diminished, higher education ranks fourth in confidence among the 17 institutions measured, with small business, the military and the police in the top three spots. This was also the case in 2018, the last time higher education was included in the list of institutions.

In 2015, majorities of Americans in all key subgroups expressed confidence in higher education, with one exception — independents (48%). By 2018, though, confidence had fallen across all groups, with the largest drop, 17 percentage points, among Republicans. In the latest measure, confidence once again fell across the board, but Republicans’ sank the most — 20 points to 19%, the lowest of any group. Confidence among adults without a college degree and those aged 55 and older dropped nearly as much as Republicans’ since 2018.…Read More

Research: Social media has negative impact on academic performance

Perusing Facebook, sending rapid-fire text messages, and tweeting back and forth with friends and celebrities alike might not be the best academic strategy, it turns out.

A new study released by researchers at The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine shows a link between social media use and poor academic performance. The study wasn’t limited to usage of traditional social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, but instead included popular social technology like texting.

Freshman women spend upwards of 12 hours a day using some form of social media, researchers found. Social networking and watching movies and TV were most negatively associated with academic performance among the study participants.…Read More

A groundbreaking portal takes research to the next level

The Ohio Department of Higher Education has launched a new online tool designed to connect university researchers with industry leaders (and with each other) in an effort to spur innovation throughout the state.

The Ohio Innovation Exchange is a searchable online database containing information about the faculty, projects, facilities, and equipment located at the state’s research institutions. Businesses, fellow researchers, and others can search the website by keyword, researcher, fields of research, featured patents, and other criteria to find potential collaborators for their work.

It’s all about connections
The project’s goal is to facilitate partnerships between researchers and industry professionals to advance innovation, says Charles See, vice chancellor for external relations and education technology at the Ohio Department of Higher Education.…Read More

“Research in Action” Podcast

Perhaps not too surprisingly, “Research in Action” is a podcast about research in higher education. It’s hosted by Dr. Katie Linder, research director for Oregon State University Ecampus, and the more than 130 weekly episodes often include guest interviews from other colleges and industry who share their research expertise, experience, and strategies.

Linder says the goal of the podcast is to increase research literacy and build community among researchers, and recent topics have included taking risks for research, current trends and challenges for academic libraries, and emotions and teaching.…Read More

2 ways to use social media to teach research skills

Social media offers four different ways to collect information from a substantial number of sources. First, you can apply knowledge organization to classify and catalog information or content, such as creating a playlist on YouTube and adding videos associated with that category. Second, social networking offers opportunities for collaboration and interactivity. Facebook, for instance, lets users share information such as a New York Times article to their profile page, allowing their online community to view and distribute that knowledge to others. Social media environments are a place for users to engage with a database that is dedicated to producing and potentially archiving information regularly. Finally, users can practice information retrieval by collecting and gathering data through a particular social media site. The universal tool to retrieve data and information on social media sites is the hashtag. By placing a pound symbol in front of a word or phrase, users locate and compile content associated with the chosen hashtag, including images, videos, and articles.

Higher-ed students in all disciplines can use the hashtag as a research mechanism. Because these students typically use the hashtag for entertainment purposes and building community, I recommend focusing on how they can use hashtags and social media platforms to research various topics and locate information. Here are two sample social media research assignments I’ve conducted using hashtags and social media. While the studies are associated with my courses, the concept and theory can be applied to all disciplines.

Social media research assignment example 1: Using hashtags to analyze reactions of a television series. Over the last several years, TV has greatly evolved. Today, viewers consume an episode through a streaming on demand service (Netflix, Hulu), watch on a variety of mobile devices, and binge multiple episodes in a row. Another new feature of modern television viewing is the act of companion television, in which an individual uses a second device (phone, tablet, laptop) to communicate and interact with other fans of the show who share similar interests. Many television series include their hashtag on the top left or right of the screen. For example, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars puts #DWTS on the screen.…Read More

#4: Debunked: 8 online learning myths that need to disappear

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on April 17th of this year, was our #4 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]

As online learning continues to grow as an increasingly viable option for postsecondary and continuing education (at least 5.8 million US students are enrolled in at least one online course), especially as non-traditional students are becoming the norm, there still exists a universal unfamiliarity with online learning that has led to the proliferation of several myths or misconceptions about this popular mode of learning.

However, the online learning myths you may be thinking of are not typically the ones in existence today. For example, unlike the myth just a few short years ago that online learning means poor quality, the new myth today is that when a well-regarded institution offers a course online the quality will be good.…Read More

#5: 6 growing trends taking over academic libraries

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on March 24th of this year, was our #5 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]

Spreading digital fluency is now a core responsibility of academic libraries, and Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) are poised to amplify the utility and reach of library services like never before. These are just two of the revelations part of the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB), ETH Library, and the Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Annual Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition.

The report, which decides the trends and technologies that will have a dramatic influence on academic libraries in the next 5 years—thanks to a panel of 75 experts composed of library leaders, librarians, technologists, industry leaders, and other key stakeholders from 14 countries—aims to help leaders seeking inspiration, models, and tactical insight around strategy and technology deployment for academic libaries.…Read More

#6: Report: Millions of students reveal surprising online learning trends

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on February 23rd of this year, was our #6 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]

In perfect timing with Digital Learning Day, international social learning platform GoConqr surveyed over 2.5 million students and teachers currently using the platform from over 160 countries last year (2016) to better understand their online learning habits and how learning is changing in general.

According to the report, which surveyed students and teachers ranging from secondary to postgraduate levels, the biggest online learning trends encompassed behaviors in collaborative learning, mobile learning, types of subjects studied, active learning patterns, and differences in learning and teaching styles.…Read More

#9: 6 essential technologies on the higher ed horizon

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on February 15th of this year, was our #9 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]

Tablets are just the beginning of Natural User Inerfaces (NUIs) in college and university settings; and any institution interested in remaining relevant in the next five years should start redesigning their learning spaces to better promote collaborative learning. These are just some of the revelations part of the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s (ELI) 2017 Higher Education Edition of the annual Horizon Report.

The report, which decides which trends and technologies will have a dramatic influence on higher ed in the next 5 years thanks to a panel of 78 education and technology experts from 22 countries on 5 continents, aims to help inform the choices that institutions are making about technology to improve, support, or extend teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher ed across the world.…Read More

EDUCAUSE: 10 trends in student use of campus technology

Students said they would generally rate their campus technology experiences favorably and are more likely to DIY their tech support, according to a new survey.

The EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research’s (ECAR) annual Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology aims to understand and map students’ campus technology use and experiences.

As the higher-ed community continues to explore the various ways students engage with technology, this year’s study aligns with previous years and shows high levels of student adoption of and satisfaction with personal and institutional technologies. The survey also reveals optimism about the benefits of technology-based instruction for student learning.…Read More