Better Resources

What is the state of digital media in higher education?

GUEST COLUMN | by Patrick Merfert

CREDIT videoblocks 2016 state of digital media in higher edWe conducted the 2016 State of Digital Media in Higher Education survey after hearing from students, faculty, and administrators that digital media and visual literacy were key pieces to developing graduates that could be competitive in today’s job market.

Insights were gathered from more than 300 current educators, administrators, and students that represented more than 200 universities including: The University of Pennsylvania; Johns Hopkins; Brown University; University of California, Berkeley; Wake Forest; and New York University.

The survey found that 91 percent of faculty and 76 percent of students agree that including digital media in course materials improves engagement, yet only 20 percent of faculty reported using digital media in all lectures, and 18 percent said they rarely or never use digital media.

Edtech providers should strive to not only provide better training resources, but also build simplicity and intuition directly into their product and user interfaces.

The survey surfaced that a lack of university provided resources was a primary culprit; 44 percent of faculty and 30 percent of students said their universities could provide better digital resources. As a result, there is a real mismatch between both students and faculty on visual literacy standards. 45 percent of students believe that they are highly literate, with only 14 percent of faculty agreeing.

Similarly, half of faculty see themselves as highly literate, with only 23 percent of students agreeing. The solution here is to provide better digital media resources – schools spend millions on new facilities, but skimp on content. It’s like buying a Tesla and never plugging it in.

Finally, when faculty were asked to describe their biggest frustrations with education technology they listed learning how to use it – including finding the time to learn and ineffective training. To solve this, edtech providers should strive to not only provide better training resources, but also build simplicity and intuition directly into their product and user interfaces.

Despite these current challenges, digital media in higher education has progressed substantially in the past decade. The feedback from both educators and students is encouraging, with an overwhelmingly positive sentiment regarding the impact that digital media can have in educational environments.

To realize even greater benefits from digital media, administrators and educators need to work collaboratively to promote digital literacy, universities need to provide adequate funding for digital media resources, and technology providers need to build more intuitive products and training materials.

Patrick Merfert is Director of Demand Generation – Education & Enterprise at VideoBlocks. To read additional findings, download the full 2016 State of Digital Media in Higher Education Report here.

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