[Athen] New research on attitudes of university applicants to ICT

E.A. Draffan ea at emptech.info
Sun Sep 9 12:31:31 PDT 2007

Just thought this may be of interest and I wonder if you have a similar
study available in USA.

Best wishes E.A.

New research suggests that young university hopefuls expect unrestricted
access to the Internet

Those hoping to go to university are 'digital natives' who use social
networking sites regularly and are quickly able to perceive the potential
benefits and limitations of new technologies in their social and academic
lives, when presented with examples of their use.

This is the picture painted by the results of research published today into
the attitudes of 16-18 year olds who are hoping to go to university.
Commissioned by JISC and conducted by Ipsos MORI, the survey looked at the
attitudes of over 500 young people using both quantitative and qualitative

The research found, for example, that use of the Internet is the norm for
these young people, with 76% having accessed the Internet from their
bedrooms, nearly two-thirds using social networking sites 'regularly' and
84% agreeing with the statement that they 'like to keep up-to-date with new
technology and use it as much as possible both for study and in my free
time'. However, qualitative insight suggests that expectations are largely
based on their current home or school experiences, creating an uncertainty
about how technology can be used in new and different ways in learning and
teaching at university.

While the report on the findings, written by Ipsos MORI, suggested that ICT
has become 'part of the fabric of the lives' of young university hopefuls,
it also uncovered a pragmatism in their approach to technology, with 79%
agreeing with the statement 'I think that using IT at university will
enhance my learning'. However, qualitative insight suggests that most feel
that it should be used as a support for traditional teaching methods and
regular face to face contact, rather than overtaking these valued methods

Among the other findings of the research with university hopefuls across the
UK were the following:

* 65% 'regularly' use social networking sites, such as Facebook,
MySpace or Flickr (females more than males - 71% and 59% respectively) and
only 5% 'never' use them
* A quarter (27%) 'regularly' use wikis, blogs or online networks
* Very few 'regularly' take part in an online community, for example a
'virtual world' such as Second Life (8%)
* 62% agree with the statement 'I expect IT to play a much bigger role
in my learning than it does now' with regard to their time at university,
although qualitative insight suggest that perhaps it's not clear to them how
* Of those who have at least begun the process of preparing for
university application 50% have looked at or asked for information about the
types of IT provision
* Of those who had looked at or asked about IT provision 42% said that
there was more IT provision than they expected.

The report suggests that the research carries important implications for
universities, particularly in its findings on the expectations of young
people as 'customers' of higher education, the near-ubiquity of social
networking and the need expressed by survey respondents for clear social or
academic benefits of new technologies to be presented.

Professor Sir Ron Cooke, Chairman of JISC, welcomed the publication of the
report, saying: 'This research provides the sector with important
intelligence as it continues to develop its ICT services for new and
potential students. Young people clearly have very particular needs and
expectations as far as ICT is concerned and while there is a great deal for
colleges and universities to absorb in this research, we hope it will help
them plan more effectively to meet the needs of all our future learners.'

This research is preparatory to the establishment of a Committee of Inquiry
being convened by JISC this autumn into the changing learner experience. The
Inquiry will address the implications for Higher Education Institutions of
the experience and expectations of learners approaching full-time higher
education with a view to informing senior managers and providing advice to
universities and colleges.

A briefing paper on the research findings is in preparation and will be
distributed to all colleges and universities shortly.

For the full report, please go to:

For further information, please contact: Philip Pothen (JISC) on 07887 564
006 or p.pothen at jisc.ac.uk

Anything in this message which does not clearly relate to the official work
of the sender's organisation shall be understood as neither given nor
endorsed by that organisation.


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