2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience
Higher education is undeniably in the midst of transformative shifts, with pandemic-era challenges catapulting progress where many argue it would have taken decades to effect change. With this state of higher education in mind, we embarked on this year's study of students and technology, seeking evidence for students' needs and wants in "the new normal." During the spring of 2022, EDUCAUSE conducted a national survey of 820 undergraduate students in the United States. (For more information, see the Methodology section.) Students' message to higher education leaders is clear: it's time to rebalance. The country is evidently shifting focus to "working to live" instead of "living to work," and students are no different.
In this report, we describe the findings of the survey in four key areas:
- Technology Challenges and Solutions
- Modality Preferences
- Access to Educational Technology
- Student Success
Quantitative descriptions of the survey results are supported by qualitative data—students' descriptions of their experiences in their own voices. Higher education technology leaders will find concrete recommendations for translating this research into action by building more flexible and inclusive learning environments. To read about the results of this survey related to data privacy and information security, see Student Data Privacy and Security: A Call for Transparent Practices.
- Educational technology impacts student wellness. Most respondents experienced technology challenges over the past academic year, and about half of them reported that such issues caused them stress.
- Physical campus spaces continue to play an important role in students' access to education. Survey respondents most typically solve technology challenges on their own, but they still use institutional services such as computer labs and Wi-Fi access.
- The online versus face-to-face dichotomy is being disrupted. Students' modality preferences have shifted toward online options since 2020. Even survey respondents who prefer fully face-to-face courses want access to a variety of online resources and activities. No matter the modality, students are looking for flexibility, social interaction, and academic engagement.
- Device access is not a simple issue when examined through an equity lens. Although students generally have access to devices adequate to meet their educational needs, not all students have the privilege of using their preferred devices for their school work. Survey respondents with disabilities and those with pandemic-related housing situations were less likely to use the devices they would prefer.
- Assistive technology can help all students. Respondents—even those not reporting any disability—indicated that they need to use a variety of assistive technologies. For example, over a third of respondents said that they need captions on videos.
- Students are whole people with complex learning needs and goals. Completing a degree is the most common way respondents defined a successful higher education experience, but they are also hoping to secure a job, achieve personal growth, secure a high salary, and more.
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© 2022 EDUCAUSE. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.
Jenay Robert. 2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience. Research report. Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE, September 2022.