E-mail survey gauges classroom technology

Abbey Stirgwolt

In an attempt to explore the use of technology in Kent State classrooms, a survey currently being administered to students aims to gauge experiences with computer-aided learning.

The study, released to student e-mail accounts at the end of March, is comprised of 79 questions regarding students’ use of various forms of technology in the classroom.

A large portion of the survey deals with students’ experiences with WebCT, such as: How the program is used in their classes – if at all; what students learn from it; and whether or not they feel it contributes to or hinders their performance in their classes. The survey also devotes a fair amount of space to PowerPoint, overheads and other visual learning aids.

Related questions probe students’ opinions on technology as it relates to classroom interactivity, such as: Does technology improve communication between students and professors, or does it only isolate instructors from their students?

So far, about 75 percent of the desired number of respondents have filled out the survey and e-mailed it back, said Alison Bianchi, associate professor in the university’s sociology department and one of the researchers for the survey.

“We have about 1,800 responses from students, and we’re shooting for 2,500,” Bianchi said.

Bianchi said she hopes the survey’s results will be available in a couple months.

“We hope to complete it by the end of this semester,” she said.

Until then, Bianchi said she hesitates to discuss plans for follow-up action because the results are not yet complete. She said implications of the survey cannot be evaluated until the target number of respondents has been reached.

Robyn Parker, assistant professor in the university’s communication studies department, worked with Bianchi in creating and administering the study.

The survey is anonymous, stating that students’ responses will not be traced back to them.

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected]