Educational Technology at UW 2005 Report

Educational Technology at the University of Washington: Report of the 2005 Instructor and Student Surveys
Catalyst / University of Washington

Read the Full 2005 Survey Report

As the role of educational technology continues to become more and more central, it is important to understand when, how, and why technology becomes a key feature in the educational landscape. To gain this perspective, six campus units joined forces: the Office of Learning Technologies, Computing & Communications, UW Libraries, Educational Outreach, the Student Technology Fee Committee, and the Office of Undergraduate Education. Headed by the Office of Learning Technologies, this collaborative team developed and distributed instructor and student surveys, building on work begun during a previous iteration of this study conducted in 2001 and 2002.

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In the two surveys, instructor and student, we asked a series of questions about respondents’ experiences with and perspectives on academic technologies. A large number of the questions were the same across the instructor and student surveys, allowing for a comparison of the two groups; a smaller number of questions carried over from the 2001 and 2002 surveys, allowing for a longitudinal comparison. We divided graduate students across the two instruments: those that held teaching assistantships completed the instructor survey and those that did not teach completed the student survey. In spring 2005, we sent the instructor survey to 4,390 individuals that had taught courses in spring 2004, autumn 2004, or winter 2005. At the same time, we sent the student survey to a random sampling of 3,500 students. The response rate was 34.4% for instructors and 28.2% for students.

We also conducted focus groups in late spring, with 40 instructors and 25 students participating in this portion of the study. We asked focus group attendees to describe their current use of educational technologies, the supports and barriers to that use, and their goals for the future. The focus groups allowed the research team to gain detailed knowledge about participants’ experiences with and perspectives on educational technology.

In this report, we present key findings that emerged from our analysis of this data. The focus of our analysis was a comparison of expertise with technology, use of technology, and beliefs about technology across different campus populations. We list our primary conclusions and provide recommendations based on those conclusions below. The order of these lists follows the chronology of our discussion in the report.