Research + News | Topic: Digital Technology

When College Kids Surf the Web in Class, Grades Fall

Study finds the habit hurts academics, and supports the notion of leaving laptops at home. Read the article here.

Textbook Trends: How U.S. College Students Source Course Materials

More than two-thirds (69%) of total expenditure on course textbooks continues to go towards print materials, according to data from Nielsen’s U.S. Student Attitudes Towards Content in Higher Education report. Read the article here.

How Colleges Use Kids’ Social Media Feeds

Learn how what you post can hurt — and help — the admissions process. Read the blog from Common Sense Media here.

Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse”

As romance gets swiped from the screen, some twentysomethings aren’t liking what they see. Read the article here.

The End of Higher Ed As We Know It?

Does college have a future? Perhaps you’ve wondered if and when it’s all going to come crashing down. Concerned analysts cite the fact that colleges are facing massive budget cuts, enrollment declines, competition for students, and a student body that’s decreasingly prepared for reading, writing, and arithmetic. A declining job market, exorbitant college costs, and mounting student debt are leaving more and more families and their kids looking to postpone college, pursue other vocational options, or enroll in non-traditional forms of higher education.

In the September 2014 edition of The Atlantic, Graeme Wood reports on a young entrepreneur who is challenging the traditional higher ed establishment as well as a host of for-profit universities by re-thinking college. . . making it an educational experience without lectures, traditional classrooms, extra-curricular activities, and tenured professors. Instead Ben Nelson’s accredited Minerva Project (or “University”) is designed to effectively educate students by keeping them highly engaged with material that they are then able to apply to life. While it’s too early to know whether or not Minerva will be a success – both as an institution and in educating students – there’s much to Ben Nelson’s philosophy that is worth thinking about.

From the article:

“Minerva, which operates for profit, started teaching its inaugural class of 33 students this month. To seed this first class with talent, Minerva gave every admitted student a full-tuition scholarship of $10,000 a year for four years, plus free housing in San Francisco for the first year. Next year’s class is expected to have 200 to 300 students, and Minerva hopes future classes will double in size roughly every year for a few years after that. . .

The Minerva boast is that it will strip the university experience down to the aspects that are shown to contribute directly to student learning. Lectures, gone. Tenure, gone. Gothic architecture, football, ivy crawling up the walls—gone, gone, gone. What’s left will be leaner and cheaper. (Minerva has already attracted $25 million in capital from investors who think it can undercut the incumbents.) And Minerva officials claim that their methods will be tested against scientifically determined best practices, unlike the methods used at other universities and assumed to be sound just because the schools themselves are old and expensive. Yet because classes have only just begun, we have little clue as to whether the process of stripping down the university removes something essential to what has made America’s best colleges the greatest in the world.

Minerva will, after all, look very little like a university—and not merely because it won’t be accessorized in useless and expensive ways. The teaching methods may well be optimized, but universities, as currently constituted, are only partly about classroom time. Can a school that has no faculty offices, research labs, community spaces for students, or professors paid to do scholarly work still be called a university?”

Read the entire article here.

Cell Phones, Academic Performance, Anxiety, and Satisfaction with Life

CHBThe February 2014 issue of Computers in Human Behavior, a scholarly journal dedicated to examining the use of computers from a psychological perspective, features a study concerning “the relationship between cell phone use, academic performance, anxiety, and Satisfaction with Life in college students.”

From the report:

“The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of two measures of CPUse (Total CPUse and Texting) on Academic Performance (GPA), anxiety, and in turn, Satisfaction with Life (SWL). The results indicated that two conceptually identical models utilizing both measures of CPUse had good overall fit. In both models, CPUse was negatively related to GPA and positively related to anxiety. Following this, GPA was positively related to SWL while anxiety was negatively related to SWL.”

Read the full report here.

Downloard the full report (.pdf) here.

Cell Phone Use Linked to Anxiety, Lower Grades and Reduced Happiness

KentStudentA study by researchers from Kent State University explores whether or not frequent cell phone use is related to measurable outcomes important for student success, such as academic performance, anxiety and happiness. From the report:

“Results of the analysis showed that cell phone use was negatively related to GPA and positively related to anxiety. Following this, GPA was positively related to happiness while anxiety was negatively related to happiness. Thus, for the population studied, high frequency cell phone users tended to have lower GPA, higher anxiety, and lower satisfaction with life (happiness) relative to their peers who used the cell phone less often. The statistical model illustrating these relationships was highly significant.”

Read the full report here.

The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior here.

Does College Play a Role in Media Consumption?

According to the most recent Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, the 18-24 year-old consumer demographic consumes media where it can, when it can. Nearly half the viewers in this demo grab their smartphones at least once per day while watching TV, topping any other group. This group also spends the most time watching video on the Internet—almost an hour-and-a-half each week. Consumption differs, however, within the 18-24 demo itself, and the variations are predicated on consumer lifestyle, education and living situation.

Read the full report here.

Young Teens Use Mobile Devices for Homework

According to a recent poll by the research firm TRU more than a third of tweens and young teenagers in the United States said they are using smartphones to do homework. Smartphones were used at home for schoolwork by 39% of 11 to 14 year olds, 31% of those surveyed said they did assignments on a tablet while nearly 65% used laptops.

Read the full report from Reuters here.

Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has taken a special look at readers between the ages of 16 and 29 because interest in them is especially high in the library world and the publishing world. This report examines how they encounter and consume books in different formats.

Main findings: 83% of Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year; some 75% read a print book; 19% read an e-book; and 11%listened to an audiobook. Many say they are reading more in the era of digital content, especially on their mobile phones and on computers.

Read the report here.

Download the complete report (.pdf) here.