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Only 25% of students feel they are encouraged to use Web 2.0 features by tutors or lecturers

June 12th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

A busy news day. This press release from Jisc dropped into my in-box.

” New research commissioned by JISC and carried out by Ipsos MORI suggests that students are starting to mix their social networking sites with their academic studies and inviting tutors and lecturers into their virtual space.
The research builds upon on an initial study – Student Expectations – carried out last year when 500 students were asked to indicate their expectations of technology provision when entering into higher education.
This new data is based on students now that they are studying as first years at higher education institutions, compared to the previous study when they were still at school.
Key findings show that:

  • General use of social networking sites is still high (91% use them regularly or sometimes). Frequency of use has increased now that they are at university with a higher proportion claiming to be regular users (80%) – up from 65% when they were at school/college
  • 73% use social networking sites to discuss coursework with others; with 27% on at least a weekly basis
  • Of these, 75% think such sites as useful in enhancing their learning
  • Attitudes towards whether lecturers or tutors should use social networking sites for teaching purposes are mixed, with 38% thinking it a good idea and 28% not. Evidence shows that using these sites in education are more effective when the students set them up themselves; lecturer-led ones can feel overly formal
  • Despite students being able to recognise the value of using these sites in learning, only 25% feel they are encouraged to use Web 2.0 features by tutors or lecturers
  • 87% feel university life in general is as, or better than, expected especially in terms of their use of technology, with 34% coming from the Russell Group of universities saying their expectations were exceeded
  • 75% are able to use their own computer on all of their university’s systems with 64% of students from lower income households assuming that they are able to take their own equipment, perhaps due to lack of affordability and ownership.

Sadly the press release gave no link to the full report and I could not find it on a quick search. I will come back with some comments on the press release when I have ten minutes to spare.

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4 Responses to “Only 25% of students feel they are encouraged to use Web 2.0 features by tutors or lecturers”

  1. Thank you for reporting this!

    I think the link is http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/stories/2008/06/greatexpectations.aspx

    My research and experiences with music students show that students quite often do use Facebook or MySpace, but only use them in fairly simple ways. When attempting to use similar sites, like Ning, in formal learning, they find those sites confusing. Most popular “Web 2” services, such as del.ici.ous are quite alien, as are concepts like tagging. I have noticed the same trend in many of my studies: Students want to use their own services from their own basis. “If you build it they won’t come”, someone ones titled his article on this subject (lost it!). There is often a wall between formal and informal activities. So, statistics that show that students – at least music students – are active users of the Internet, do not necessarily mean that attempts to use social media in learning will be successful.

    An online course I am just studying had a huge drop out rate due to the reason it required the students to be more initiative and self-directed than they have used to. But this could just be with music education students..

  2. Zolud says:

    Tutors or lecturers are 30 years older than students. How can thay encourage them in sphere that is not familiar to them?

  3. martinL says:

    The reports sounds promising…
    Unfortunately I made other experiences: We build open collaboration environments (based on drupal), we let the the students decide whether to blog with a specific blog on the platform or from their own, private Weblog (we aggregate the tagged content via syndication), we let them bring their own neewsfeeds…
    But most of the students don’t have a weblog or don’t want to use it; don’t know what RSS means, see no sense in discussing in virtual groups (“we have use email”)….
    I suppose there still is a problem of media-competency. The instututions have to deal with this (and set up courses like “introduction to ict fr scientific working”)!
    Maybee this is just a german perspective/problem?!

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