Student Experiences with Connectivity and Technology in the Pandemic

Students Usually Choose "Do-It-Yourself" Device Support

Most students are DIY'ers when it comes to troubleshooting devices problems. Our results indicate that students don't often tap their institution's IT/tech support units for help when they have a device issue. Almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents reported that they try to resolve device problems themselves when issues do occur, which aligns with previous EDUCAUSE findings. More students choose to go to a friend or family member to get assistance (13%) than contact the tech support at their institution (9%) (figure 5). Similar to what we learned about connectivity, many students said they hadn't had a need for device support. Common reasons given for not seeking assistance from campus IT were that students were unaware of how to get support, didn't think their campus's tech support covered their personal devices, and thought it was faster to handle device problems themselves. As one respondent noted, "It's likely just more time-consuming to contact someone so I try to resolve the issue myself if one arises."

Bar graph showing how students try to resolve device issues.  I try to resolve the issue myself. 72%.  I go to a friend or family member to resolve the issue. 13.  I contact IT/tech support at my institution. 9.  I contact the manufacturer's tech support. 4.
Figure 5. How students try to resolve device issues
I find that when I have an issue with my device in general, I don’t want to bother the IT folks. I go to them if I encounter a problem with university-provided software or website, but not if it’s a problem with my computer (and not something [university]-made).

A number of students noted that their campus's IT support could be more helpful in resolving device issues if the institution could provide access to laptops and/or tablets via rental or lending programs. Some respondents commented specifically about loaner devices and expressed how useful these were for their academic work.