- Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning - https://www.facultyfocus.com -

Nearly 75 Percent of Faculty Incorporated Technology into their Teaching in the Past Year

When it comes to technology in the classroom, phrases like “faculty resistance” and the importance of getting “faculty buy-in” are tossed around with great frequency. But is that perception still valid? Are all instructors so set in their ways, skeptical of anything new, and fearful of deviating from what they’ve done that it’s nearly impossible to get them to try something new?

Hardly. Just look at the results of the Faculty Focus reader survey conducted earlier this year. A full 73.67 percent of readers who took the survey said they incorporated technology into their class during the past year. It was the third most popular activity, exceeded only by an impressive 85.81 percent who attended a professional development workshop or conference and 83.92 percent who used a rubric.

During the past year, have you engaged in the following:

Yes No N/A
Incorporated a new technology into your course 73.67% 20.58% 5.76%
Taught a capstone course 23.88% 61.38% 14.75%
Taught a service learning course 24.02% 62.92% 13.06%
Used a rubric 83.92% 11.38% 4.71%
Attended a professional development workshop or conference 85.81% 12.71% 1.47%
Taught a course you’ve never taught before 50.91% 42.28% 6.81%
Taught a flipped course 27.18% 62.71% 10.11%
Participated in a faculty mentoring program 40.80% 52.39% 6.81%

 

That was one of the key findings from the annual survey, which was distributed to Faculty Focus readers this spring seeking their feedback on everything from their biggest day-to-day challenges to the types of articles they’re most interested in reading. And, like last year, we asked if their job was more difficult than it was five years ago. Of those who responded, 48.38% said “more difficult.” This was a slight, but statistically insignificant, dip from 50% in 2013. More than a third (35.54%) said “about the same,” 9.53 said “less difficult,” and for 6.55% the question didn’t apply.

For those who find their job more challenging, the reasons are varied, but largely unchanged from the previous year. Many readers commented that today’s students seem less prepared and less motivated for the rigors of college, are more likely to argue about assignments and grades, and often have unrealistic expectations for how quickly faculty should respond to emails. Some mentioned larger classes or a heavier course load, while for others it’s keeping up with technology (often without proper training on how to use it), or a move to an online or blended classroom that’s adding extra hours to their work day. Additional committee work and administrative responsibilities also were mentioned frequently, as were budget cuts that have reduced the availability of resources and support.

Readers’ explanations for why their job is more challenging were reiterated in their rating of the biggest day-to-day challenges. For the third year in a row, underprepared and unprepared students were identified as the biggest day-to-day challenges. Readers rated as “very problematic” students who are not prepared for the rigors of college (29.44%) and students who come to class unprepared (26.77%). They rated as “moderately problematic” student motivation (33.98%)

What are some of your biggest day-to-day challenges? Please rate these issues.

Not a Problem Slightly Problematic Moderately Problematic Very Problematic
Students who are not prepared for the
rigors of college
8.44% 26.77% 35.35% 29.44%
Students who come to class unprepared 6.64% 27.42% 39.18% 26.77%
Student motivation 12.87% 35.86% 33.98% 17.28%
Institutional budget cuts 20.42% 28.42% 26.09% 25.07%
Technology distractions 18.80% 35.50% 31.45% 14.24%
Demands outside of teaching (e.g. committee work, research, publishing demands) 24.62% 29.76% 26.36% 19.26%
Keeping up with technology 27.30% 38.60% 25.56% 8.54%
Increased class size 48.23% 24.01% 17.64% 10.12%
Lack of collegiality in the workplace 44.76% 31.44% 15.65% 8.15%
Student incivility 54.08% 31.73% 11.86% 2.33%

 

As a follow-up to this question, readers were given the option to share some of the other challenges they face on a regular basis. Here are just some of the comments we received:

Survey demographics
The annual Faculty Focus survey was conducted in March and April of this year with 1,628 readers completing the online survey. Approximately 65 percent identified themselves as professor/instructor. The largest percentage (29.36%) working at four-year public institutions, followed by four-year private institutions (26.5%), and two-year public institutions (24.06%). In terms of how long they have worked in higher education, it ranged from fewer than five years (18.37%), six to 10 years (21.74%), 11-15 years (17.57%), 16-20 years (13.64%) and more than 20 years (28.69%).

For the third year in a row, the number of readers who teach, manage or support at least one online and blended course went largely unchanged—63.86 percent in 2014 compared to 64 percent in 2013 and 62 percent in 2012. The number stood at 55 percent percent in 2011.

Another question that delivers consistent responses each year asked readers to rate article topics. Learner-centered teaching, teaching with technology, assignment strategies, course design, and facilitating discussion continue to gather the highest interest and will remain at the heart of what we do here at Faculty Focus.

Thank you for your feedback
Our 2014 survey marks the fourth year we’ve conducted a reader survey and each survey brings new insight into our readers’ challenges, needs, and interests. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts. The feedback has helped to confirm suspicions, challenge assumptions, and offer valuable perspective to the work we do.