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Digital Faculty: Professors, Teaching and Technology, 2012

Inside Higher Education and The Babson Survey Research Group recently looked at faculty use of technology and digital resources. The report contains a number of interesting (though not necessarily surprising) tibits.

Almost half of faculty use videos or simulations in class, with use lower among faculty who teach only face-to-face versus those who teach online and blended (40% v. 59%). A large number of faculty who use digital materials also create their own materials; overall, 43% of faculty create their own resources on a regular or occasional basis. Interestingly, few faculty regularly use lecture capture to create digital resources for class (9%), but the number is much higher for natural sciences faculty (29%). That number certainly jibes with my own experience: all of my colleagues who use lecture capture are in the natural sciences.

Social media adoption is still low among faculty: only 36% of faculty use social media to interact with students regularly or occasionally, and only 44% interact with other faculty.

Finally, when it comes to use of an LMS, the largest use by faculty is making syllabus information available: almost 90% of faculty regularly or occasionally use an LMS to make a syllabus available. As Jason Parkhill (@JasonParkhill) points out, “So much cost & effort toward password protected syllabi.” There seem to be some big drawbacks to hiding a syllabus in an LMS–prospective students can’t find out details about a class until after they’ve registered and the semester starts; the scholarship of teaching is hampered by the inability of faculty to see what others in their discipline are doing. Why do faculty put their syllabi into a locked silo? Is it because the LMS is the default option? Do faculty not have any other way to post materials online? (We eliminated our faculty web server years ago, and now faculty web pages are handled via a proprietary content management system that requires assistance from the Director of Online Media to use.) Do faculty prefer to keep their syllabi out of the public eye?

One final LMS tidbit that is interesting: administrator perceptions of faculty LMS differ significantly from what faculty report, especially with respect to those functions for which faculty report lowest usage.




H/T to Bryan Alexander (@Bryan Alexander)