Analyzing campus technology

NATS wants your opinion on campus technology

Amanda Krehbiel, Assistant Website Editor

Students received emails last week from Network and Technology Services regarding a survey about information technology (IT).

For the third year, Wayne State College is participating in the Educause Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) Survey of Undergraduate Students and IT. The survey is put out by Educause, a company which, according to its website, is “a nonprofit association and the foremost community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education.”

The ECAR survey on the WSC campus is organized by the NATS office.
It’s no question that over the years, technology and IT have become more present and needed in our society, and with that comes the prevalence of IT on campuses and in the classrooms.

Susan Grajek of Educause stated in last year’s reports of the survey that, “today, students overwhelmingly prefer and have experienced courses with at least some online components,” and notes that “one of the most valuable uses of the ECAR student study is not to mark the passage of time but instead to help institutions prepare for the future.”

The goal of the study is, ultimately, to help institutions know how the students consider IT in relation to the school, and to then make any necessary changes to their systems—anything to help the students succeed in regards to IT.

According to John Dunning, Chief Information Officer of NATS, the main reason WSC chooses to participate in this survey is because“it is the most statistically valid way we have to understand our own students’ desires for and uses of IT.”

The survey takes about twenty minutes to go through and does not require that the participant answer every question.Two randomly drawn Amazon gift cards in the amounts of $50 and $100 act as incentives for those deciding whether or not to take the survey.

“We certainly value and use the occasional direct feedback we get from individual students,” Dunning said, “but this is the best tool we have to get the broader picture.”

The ECAR Survey annually comes out around late winter to early springtime, and last year 423 students responded to the survey. That equals about a 15 percent response rate. In 2013, there were 622 responses, or 23 percent. The lower 2014 numbers Dunning attributes to a late distribution of the survey.

NATS receives the data week-to-week from Educause as the survey is running and expects to obtain the final data quickly.

From the 2014 survey, NATS discovered what students thought about IT on campus and did something about it.

“The 2014 survey asked students to rate their experience with the help-desk for walk-in, phone, e-mail and web form modes,” Dunning said. “Our students are more satisfied with our help desk service via phone and e-mail than students in most schools. They are, however, less satisfied than students at other schools when it comes to walk-in and web-form.”

NATS assumes that the low walk-in scores are attributed to its “distant location from campus,” according to Dunning, and the web-form deals with the fact that WSC does not have one.

“We’re in the early stages of planning a new help-desk ticketing system which would provide that function,” Dunning said.

The ECAR Survey runs through April 10, and links to it can be found in last Tuesday’s e-mail from NATS, or on the eCampus homepage.