ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2019


  • Leverage analytics to gain a greater understanding of the student demographics that influence learning environment preferences. Information such as student marital status and the number and ages of dependents gives institutions additional data points that can shed light on the learning environments students choose, as well as the resources that can be offered to help them succeed in those settings. Integrate more intentional use of technology to increase the interactivity of learning tasks and activities students prefer experiencing in face-to-face environments, such as lectures and labs, to maximize face time with instructors and peers.
  • Continue to promote online success tools and provide training to students on their use through orientations and advisement sessions. Implement advising tools first with student-facing staff and faculty to communicate the value of such tools and their most effective use. Partner with other campus stakeholders such as counseling services and health centers to market self-service referral systems for social or community resources to reach more at-risk learners and students in crisis. Keeping its risks in mind, explore the possibilities of predictive analytics with the use of success tools as a supplement to the personalized support of student advisors.
  • Expand efforts to improve Wi-Fi reliability in campus housing and outdoor spaces. Upgrade wireless networks in residence halls, and explore the benefits of dual network configurations to reduce the number of student-provided access points that contribute to connectivity confusion. Increase the number of outdoor access points, and invest in durable, weatherproof equipment with directional antennas to boost coverage.
  • Allow students to use the devices that are most important to their academic success in the classroom. Provide training to faculty on the purposeful integration of student-owned technology for more inclusive, active, and engaged learning. Offer alternatives to in-class tech bans, such as involving students in the development of their class's technology policy and designated seating for device users.
  • Establish a campus community to address accessibility issues and give "accessibility evangelists" a seat at the table. Colleagues and students with disabilities can be valuable consultants who offer perspectives on the barriers they experience with tech inaccessibility in their learning environments. Partner with units across campus such as disability services, advisement, health services, and admissions to educate all students on the available accessible technology services and how to request them. Tap the expertise of teaching and learning centers and instructional designers to train faculty on the universal design for learning (UDL) framework to promote inclusive strategies that benefit all learners.