ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2011 Report

Beginning in 2004, ECAR has conducted an annual study of undergraduate students and information technology (IT), seeking to understand patterns of ownership and usage, skills with and preferences for various technologies, and how IT affects the college experience. In 2011 findings of the EDUCAUSE Technology Research in the Academic Community study of students and technology was conducted in collaboration with Grunwald Associates LLC, which used a research methodology that resulted in a nationally representative sample of undergraduate students. The sample for ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2011 was stratified by region, institution type, and key demographics, with results from 3,000 college students from 1,179 colleges and universities. For its research, Grunwald Associates LLC conducted a survey in June 2011. (Note: In February 2011, ECAR conducted its traditional survey of undergraduate students, and ECAR developed a crosswalk that allows comparisons between the questions from the two survey instruments.)

Additional Resources

Because of this topic's importance to higher education, The ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology is publicly accessible upon publication.

Key Findings

The ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology sheds lights on how information technology affects the college experience. ECAR has conducted this annual study since 2004, and though students' ownership and utilization of technology changes from year to year, students consistently rely upon their instructors and institutions to meet their technology expectations and needs. The 2011 study differs from past studies in that the questionnaire was reengineered and responses were gathered from a nationally representative sample of 3,000 students in 1,179 colleges and universities.

  • Facebook generation students juggle personal and academic interactions
  • Students prefer, and say they learn more in, classes with online components
  • Students are drawn to hot technologies, but they rely on more traditional devices
  • Students report technology delivers major academic benefits
  • Students report uneven perceptions of institutions' and instructors' use of technology

ECAR Recommends

See the 2011 Report for a full list of actionable results.

  • Investigate your students' technology needs and preferences and create an action plan to better integrate technology into courses and information systems.
  • Provide professional development opportunities and incentives so instructors can better use the technology they have.
  • Expand or enhance students' involvement in technology planning and decision making.
  • Meet students' expectations for anytime, everywhere, Wi-Fi access on the devices they prefer to use.
  • Nail the basics. Help faculty and administrators support students' use of core productivity software for academic work.

What Makes IT at Community Colleges Unique? Find out in the July 2012 ECAR report.