Friday, October 07, 2011

Straw Poll

Straw poll We did a quick straw poll in the first year introductory lecture today, asking the students what technology they had brought with them to university. Very roughly, the numbers were (out of ~270 students):

~75% had their own computers:
2 Linux
2/3 Windows
1/3 Apple

~40% had smartphones
2/3 Android
1/3 iPhone

This represents pretty much a continuation of a straight line increase over what we have seen in the past few years, although smartphones are above the curve. What do we do with this information? Force them to use Blackboard.

For comparison: Cardiff School of Dentistry Year 1 Undergraduates 2011/12


  1. 'force them to use blackboard' - what else might you do? why is this information relevant?

  2. We have an institutional policy of not supporting personal technology - they're on their own. That's quite out of step with modern ideas about customer service.

  3. For someone like me this is very relevant from the perspective of developing online resources that will run across all operating systems whether desktop or handheld. A few years ago only a small number of students had Macs that number is growing. Judging by our lecture theatres about 50% of laptops are Macs now. This has implications for instituional technologies that students may be expected to use to support their studies including email etc. to make sure they work and are accessible to all students regardless of platform. If more students are using Macs then institutions need to ensure their systems run ok or let students know of any limitations. Eg certain things in Blackboard won't work on a Mac in Safari.

  4. I was slightly surprised that the proportion of Macs wasn't higher, but I suspect this varies from one discipline to another.
    What is clear is that we are rapidly approach 99% of students bringing technology with them. Which raises the question - are those without their own computer disadvantaged? Significantly?

  5. What do you mean by "support"?

    What kind of support do these learners need?

    Who made the decision not to provide support?

  6. Support as in "I can't get my computer to work".