What information technology tools do faculty use to teach the more than 38,000 students at the U-M, to continue their research, and to communicate and share findings with other researchers and faculty? And how do they use them, what would they like to use and what changes would they like to see?
These and other questions were asked of 1,500 faculty in spring 1999 when the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) sponsored the Faculty Survey: Information Technology Uses, Resources and Support. The survey, conceived by Carl Berger and Karen Kost, was prepared and conducted by the Institute for Social Research. Berger, professor of education and academic liaison in the Office of the CIO, says that there was a high rate of response to the survey743 answered the questionnaire, only slightly fewer than one-half of those contacted.
We got some very straightforward responses, Berger says. The responses we got are helping to explode some of the myths about who uses information technology in an academic world.
Kost, who is an administrative associate in the CIOs office, was responsible for much of the data analysis and presentation. The report of results is available at www.sitemaker.med.umich.edu/cberger.
Faculty, Kost and Berger say, do not conform to the idea that the older one is, the less likely to use technology in either academic, research or personal application. Results show that U-M faculty rate themselves as novice, intermediate, advanced and expert users of technology, not at all according to age.
Berger points to several answers from the survey that are important to note for those who provide software, support and information to faculty members.
This fall, Berger and Kost plan to poll U-M students about their use, comfort level, support and wishes for information technology. Another survey of faculty is planned for winter term.
Many faculty responding to the survey took time to reply not only to questions, but gave additional information about what they use, what they would like to see, how they learn and the importance of information technology in their academic endeavors.
My experience is mostly that I can never figure out how any of this technology works unless an actual human being shows me.
My courses rely on use of the Web for activities as well as information.
. . . if the U wishes IT to be used in teaching and research, it really should provide solid support and encouragement, visible to all, and it should do it for all units.
Acquiring the knowledge to use IT productively takes tremendous time and effortusing that knowledge takes even more.
. . . I dont understand why it was so difficult to find someone who could help with this!