Published April 3, 2012
Students overwhelmingly confirmed in the 15th annual UBIT Student IT Experience survey that they increasingly rely on multiple devices and platforms. "We're living in a very fluid IT environment," said CIO Tom Furlani. "It's incredibly helpful when students take the time to respond to this survey so we have feedback and suggestions to better plan IT support for their living, learning and research needs - we listen to what they tell us."
Over 2,400 students participated in the study, which was a
substantial increase over last year's survey, and we are very
thankful for the response. Three-fourths were undergraduates, with
graduate and professional students also represented across the
campus. Overall, compared with previous years, service satisfaction
was up, dissatisfaction was down, with neutral responses rising
slightly. Over three-quarters of students report being very or
somewhat satisfied with UBlearns, public workstations,
and iPrint - all high volume and high profile services. These rates
are holding relatively steady over the past 4 years.
As the plot below shows, over 90% of students own laptops, yet only 60% bring them regularly to class, with many choosing instead to rely on mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) to take notes or capture reminders for class. Adoption of Apple™ products rose slightly (likely due to increased use of iPads), but the smartphone use is pretty evenly divided among Android and iPhone, with Verizon the slightly favored carrier.
"We're actively working on substantially increasing the
deployment of mobile apps to improve the quality of the UB
experience for students, faculty, staff and alumni. This includes
specific apps targeted at UBlearns and the HUB, as well as a
general purpose app that ties into core functionality such as the
library, athletics, food services (menus), campus maps and student
bus schedules." said CIO Furlani.
The My Virtual Computing Lab (MyVCL) pilot, which allows students, faculty and staff to access public computing lab software directly on their own workstation or laptop, is a resounding success. Students were asked, "Assuming equal access to software, printing and file saving from public sites or MyVCL" which they would prefer - nearly 2:1 liked the flexibility MyVCL offers. Scheduled and unscheduled learning spaces continued to be valued as well. A slight preference was expressed toward "first come - first served" spaces in hallways and foyers, especially near dining spaces, but many student also desired more spaces that could be scheduled online for access to whiteboards and large table space for project work.
In an effort to reduce the overall length of the survey this year, only two qualitative questions were asked: What technology resources can UB provide to be more helpful to your study and research needs? and What would have made it easier for you to get started with IT at UB? All of the responses were reviewed and sorted. Suggestions for improvements were passed on to IT service teams, and a number of students reported that website information or brochures about IT services written in non-technical language would help them get started, particularly during orientation. The IT Policy and Communications Team is currently working on improvements based on these suggestions for incoming students in 2012.
Many thanks to the students who participated in this year's survey to help improve IT services for all! Visit the UBIT Scoreboard site to read the final report.