Patterns of IT Usage Amongst UCC Students: What Are Our Students Doing Online?

Dawson, Ciaran (2008) Patterns of IT Usage Amongst UCC Students: What Are Our Students Doing Online? [Conference Proceedings]


A recent report states that people born from 1990 onwards do not remember the first time they used a computer. This is the generation which is now entering third level education. In order to effectively engage with these learners it is vital that we get a picture of their online activities. In this talk I will present the results of research carried out among UCC students for this purpose. At the heart of the research is a survey carried out in Spring 2008 which was responded to by 921 students in which they presented a picture of their online activities (both social and pedagogical) as well as commenting on the effectiveness of the pedagogical use of IT in UCC and making suggestions for its possible development into the future. This survey will be followed up by a series of minor surveys and focus groups in Autumn 2008 aimed at refining the findings of the major survey and presenting more specific data. To date, results indicate a student population who are active online learners and who are capable of reaching beyond the resources provided by UCC. There appears to be a wide use of social networking software for both social and pedagogical purposes and, while students are satisfied with the use of Blackboard in UCC, they have definite ideas on how it should be used and are highly critical of areas where it is underutilised. Something which comes across strongly is the high level of sophistication and pedagogical awareness displayed in the answers which suggest how Blackboard ought to be used by staff. This talk challenges the assumption that social networking software cannot seriously be put to work in Teaching and Learning on an institutional level.

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