Student Experiences Learning with Technology in the Pandemic

Most Effective Use of Technology

List of activities students were able to do because of effective technology use (in their own words)  -Being able to attend lectures via Zoom  -Being able to access lecture videos at anytime for a refresher  -Being able to work at my own pace and having time to turn in my work O Being able to reach out to my instructor and classmates  -Being able to access my assignments on my phone as well as my laptop O Being able to be in a clean, safe environment while being in class  -Being able to take tests anywhere with our laptops  -Being able to look at grades and upload assignments  -Being able to share my screen to show the professor  -Being able to take ballet Zoom classes in my dorm  -Being able to work on a shared document with my classmates
Figure 4. Activities students were able to do because of effective technology use (in their own words)

Good student experiences with technology are all alike. When we asked students about the most effective uses of technology that they experienced in their courses during the fall 2020 term, some common themes emerged (figure 4). Perhaps the most frequently cited technology critical to the student experience during the pandemic was the learning management system (LMS). Students reported that their instructors were using the LMS for much more than just posting the syllabus; instructors were posting assignments, notes, slides, and lectures; distributing course materials; conducting peer-review/peer-grading activities; administering exams, quizzes, or tests; and creating spaces for student–student interaction and collaboration. The pandemic appears to have been a catalyst for finally getting instructors to use the LMS for more than just the basic functions. Videoconferencing tools (e.g., Zoom, BlueJeans, GoogleMeet) were also prominent technologies students reported their instructors using effectively for lectures, breakout sessions, small-group work, office hours, and screen sharing and for providing social contexts in the absence of face-to-face opportunities. A large number of students discussed how remote access to specialized software (e.g., GIS, SPSS, CAD) really made a difference in their learning experiences. But the hands-down favorite technology used was the recorded lecture. Regardless of modality, students sang the praises and benefits of the recorded lecture for the flexibility of scheduling that it offered (especially under pandemic conditions) and the ability to review lecture materials whenever, wherever, and for however long they might need. And, as we have seen before, recorded lectures are critical to providing students with disabilities online access to needed materials and resources.

"Everything is honestly fantastic about this course, and I liked how the professor was able to adapt online or in person. If someone was quarantined, [the professor] was able to provide us an alternative online option in real time for class."
Female student, age 19
"Asynchronous learning [is the best use of technology in my course]. I have a backup in case my technology isn't working or accessible during class time. Being able to work on assignments before, after, or during class makes it very accessible for any student."
Female student, age 21