Class of 2021 Students Evaluate iPads in the Classroom

The Office of Teaching and Learning surveyed Class of 2021 students regarding their usage, thoughts and opinions of the iPad in and outside of the classroom. As a reminder, the class of 2020 was the first cohort of students equipped with iPads, and we surveyed them earlier last year.

From the survey results, OTL has identified concrete action steps to help resolve the issues reported, as well as to better take advantage of the technology.

65 students responded to the survey. Below are select observations from the Class of 2021 survey, and how they compared to those from the Class of 2020 survey:

  • General
    • An overwhelming majority of respondents (93.85%) reported that they purchased a stylus to use with their iPad
      • 96% of the respondents reported that they used their stylus for learning purposes “always” (55%), “most of the time” (30%), “about half of the time” (8%), or “sometimes” (3%).
    • More respondents reported that they did NOT print hard copies of course notes (60% for 2020 vs. 73% for 2021)
  • Thoughts and Perceptions
    • More respondents reported agreeing with the statement “iPad access to materials in-class contributes to learning” (65% for 2020 vs. 82% for 2021)
    • More reported agreeing with the statement “Annotated materials contributes to learning” (69% for 2020 vs. 85% for 2021)
    • More reported agreeing with the statement “iPad positive addition to learning” (62% for 2020 vs. 79% for 2021)
    • More reported agree with the statement “More Effective Study Time with iPad” (42% for 2020 vs. 65% for 2021)
  • Satisfaction with Apps
    • Similar to their Class of 2020 counterparts, Class of 2021 respondents reported being more satisfied with the Canvas web app than with the Canvas iOS app
      • In addition, Class of 2021 respondents reported being more satisfied with the native Canvas app for iPad than their Class of 2020 counterparts (45% for 2020 vs. 57% for 2021)
    • In terms of Class of 2021 respondents’ satisfaction with BuckeyeBox
      • iOS app: 29% reported being satisfied (21% very, 8% somewhat), and 23% reported being dissatisfied (13% very, 10% somewhat). Notably, 25% reported that they have not used it as of this survey.
      • Web app: 28% reported being satisfied (13% very, 15% somewhat), and 18% reported being dissatisfied (13% very, 5% somewhat). Notably, 33% reported that they have not used it as of this survey.
      • We think that the low satisfaction level is due to ongoing compatibility issues with iOS that the vendor needs to resolve.
    • Less reported being satisfied with SofTest (57% for 2020 vs. 46% for 2021)
    • More reported being satisfied with Top Hat (66% for 2020 vs. 74% for 2021)
  • Some constructive comments from students include:
    • iPad is a “great technology that allows us to always have our course information without 20 pounds of books and note books.”
      • However, many respondents voiced their observation that this required tool is not currently used in our courses to its full potential
    • “Make more class more interactive”
      • Use Top Hat more
      • Would be helpful to have access to questions for review and studying
    • More assessment variety and opportunities to practice
      • More practice quizzes in Carmen
      • Assessments that “would be a better indication of the knowledge [and skills] students learn … clinically applicable, and relevant to real-world practice”
    • Formatting issues with PowerPoint
      • PDF exports do not always result in usable formatting
      • Background-forground contrast issues
      • If guided notes are provided for class time, also provide completed versions after
    • Under certain conditions, Wi-Fi speed in auditoriums may be unsatisfactory
      • This may be related to timing of file downloads and situations where file size should be optimized
    • Additional trainings and resources on the iPad would be helpful … “there should be more introduction on how to use and be efficient”
      • For example, “too many different apps that we need to collect files, information, or have access to personal accounts,” and sometimes “the apps don’t get along.”

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