Friday, October 23, 2009

Educause Center for Applied Research

The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 report was released the other day. This is the sixth in the annual series and it always has something of interest.

Use of the university library websites seems much more promising than the 2006 OCLC !--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 College Students’ Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resouces, where they found that only 55% of students used the library website at least monthly. The ECAR reports that 94.6% of students used library websites on a weekly basis. Of course, 90% of those student use social networking sites on a daily basis.

Another point that caught my eye was that 73.1% of the students reported they were using their library website for classwork during the period when the survey was taken.

Students were asked to rate their information literacy skills and not surprisingly that are very confident about their abilities to search online, find information and evaluate it. This has real impact on how we approach information literacy instruction. Many students believe they have the skills they need already.
Over 30,000 students assessed their abilities. 80% said they were very confident in their ability to search the Internet effectively and efficiently. (p16) A third felt they were experts.
The survey also asked students to assess their ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of online sources. Fifty-one percent felt they were very skilled expert in evaluating online information.

Students also felt pretty capable in legal and ethical aspects of accessing and using online information. 48.4% felt they were very skilled to expert. Only 17% felt they were not at all skilled or not very skilled in this area.

Handheld Internet Access

Just over half of the students surveyed report that they own an internet capable handheld device and another 12% plan to purchase a device with that capability in the next 12 months. Use of those devices to access the internet is more variable. About a third access the Internet daily and another third have never accessed the internet from their device. Cost and the wide available of other avenues to the internet are the main reasons for people not using handheld devices for Internet access. The ubiquity of internet access won’t change but the cost of mobile internet access is likely to drop. Librarians are thinking about how to provide their resources to handhelds this supports those efforts. The majority of students accessing the internet on handhelds are looking for information (76.7%). The information sources listed in the survey report seem more personal presently; news, weather, sports and specific facts are mentioned. Chances are that as mobile internet use becomes a more common part of students’ lives academic use could grow. In focus groups electronic reserve was mentioned as a possible use for handheld devices.

No comments: