According to our survey of 2012 freshers, students rate ‘Wi-fi access everywhere’ as their top priority. Access to online handouts after lectures came second. Access to online handouts before lectures was third.
Students were asked to think ahead to their lives at Oxford and to rate how important it would be to them to do certain activities online. These activities were:
-Do most of their reading online
– Obtain online copies of handouts to read before each lecture
-Obtain online copies of handouts to review after each lecture
-Listen to/watch a recording of a lecture afterwards
-Take notes on their laptop or tablet during lectures and other classes
– Submit their written assignments online
– Get feedback on their written assignments online
– Have Wi-Fi (wireless) access everywhere in the University
– Watch TV and films on the web in their college room
For all groups, wifi access everywhere was the highest scoring feature, and this is in keeping with one of the key findings (and recommendations) of the DIGE study. Obtaining copies of handouts to review after each lecture was also important to many people, again reflecting data from the DIGE study. Being able to work online – read, submit assignments and receive feedback on those assignments – was rated higher by postgraduates than undergraduates. 74% of respondents felt being able to watch TV on the web in their rooms was very or fairly important.
Students were also asked to think ahead to their lives at Oxford and to indicate how important they thought it would be to have each of the following technologies:
– Desktop computer (for their exclusive use)
– Desktop computer in a cluster
– Digital camera (or camera on their phone)
– E-book reader (e.g. Kindle or a tablet with an e-reading app)
– iPad or other tablet
– MP3 player (or music player on their phone)
-Notebook or netbook
All types of students see a laptop as an essential or very important item (92% of freshers brought laptops with them to Oxford). Second for all groups, but by a considerable margin, was a smartphone, very closely followed by a shared desktop. 69% of students brought a smartphone with them, an increase of 50% on last year. The numbers reading email on a phone has climbed from 3% in 2010 to almost 50% in 2012.
Research postgraduates valued a desktop for their exclusive use more than undergraduates or taught postgraduates, which may reflect the greater use of desktops for using powerful tools in empirical work and data analysis, particularly among students engaged in scientific research. 10% of undergraduates and 21% of postgraduates brought a tablet computer with them, up from 4% and 5% respectively in 2011.*
*the surveyed students included women and men.
** This image of a ‘studious beauty’ from 1776 is classified as ‘humorous’ in the John Johnson Collection. That must be because she is tipping her chair.