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December 18, 2012 / dlitgroup

ECAR 2012 – Student Technology Study

2012 Students and Technology ECAR Infographic

2012 Students and Technology ECAR Infographic

Each year, the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) conducts a study on the use of technology by students enrolled in higher education.  An infographic [PDF] and additional resources are available on the ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012 web site.

The focus of this report is to:

  • Provide he ability to monitor ongoing evolution of students’ relationship with technology.
  • Establish a baseline, trending, and benchmarking resource.
  • Amplify the student voice in shaping learning in higher ed.  Finally preferences for technology and their motivation to use technology.

This year, over 195 institutions participated and ECAR received over 106,000 student responses.

“Student engagement is important part of learning process…”

Here are a few highlights from the report:

Student Engagement

  •  70% of students say they learn most in blended format with 74% indicating that they have experience with online components
  • 31% of students have taken an online course
  • 54% of students say they are more actively involved in courses with technology
  • 57% of students wish their instructors would use more open educational resources
  • 55% indicating that they wish their instructors used more simulations or educational games

BYO = Bring Your Own Technology

“Smartphone adoption by students has grown by 5,545% since 2004!”

  • BYO technology is prolific and diverse.
  • Trends point toward mobility with the most popular devices in order are: laptop (+83% since 2004), smartphone (+5545% increase since 2004), desktop computer (-48% since 2004), tablet, and e-reader.
  • 86% own a laptop, 62% own a smartphone, 33% own a desktop, 15% own a tablet and 12% own an ereader.


  • Students use mobile devices to access: course websites and syllabi (66%), course management systems (64%), checking grades (57%)…
  • Laptops are 77% Windows vs 20% Mac, 57% ot tablets are iPads, smartphones are split between 44% iOS vs 46% Android, and the most popular e-reader is the Kindle at 59%
  • The important devices to academic success include: laptop 85%, printer 84%, thumb drive 68%…

“75% of students say that technology helps them achieve their academic outcomes”

The top academic solutions in order of priority are:

  1. course management systems
  2. library website
  3. web-based productivity software
  4. web-based citation tools
  5. e-textbooks
  6. e-portfolios

“66% of students say they were prepared to use technology before attending college”

Faculty and Student Communication

  • 2/5 of students say they are comfortable connecting on social networks with past professors, however, thumbs down on social networking with current instructors!
  • 3/5 of students say it’s important to have an online forum to communicate with other students, social networking with other students is thumbs up!
  • Students say that they would like instructors to use more communication in the following categories: Face to Face 53%, Course Management Systems 53%, Email 45%, Text Messaging 43% (27% increase from 2011), Instant Messaging 37% (28% increase from 2011), Social sites, Phone-like communication over the Internet, Facebook, Phone conversation.

Recommended Student Tools for Communication


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