The Use of Mobile Devices in Higher Education

| June 1, 2010

As members of the Development and Research Group are interested in investigating how higher education students use mobile devices in and out of school, the 2009 Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology by Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR) might answer our question. The 2009 ECAR study builds on and extends previous studies by take mixed methods to collect data. The study includes a web-based quantitative survey of college and university freshmen and seniors at 103 four- year institutions and students at 12 two-year institutions, qualitative data from focus groups, as well as longitudinal data from 2006 to 2009. Some findings of the study might enlighten us to think about how students currently own and use their mobile devices, how we might survey TC students, and how we might design the TC library mobile site by taking research findings into account.

Findings include that ECAR identified four emerging types of student adopters of mobile Internet use:
Power users. More than a quarter of respondents owned handheld devices and used them to access the Internet weekly or more often.
Occasional users. Fewer than 1 in 10 respondents owned handheld devices but used them to access the Internet monthly or less frequently.
Potential users. About 30% of respondents either currently owned an Internet-capable handheld device but never used it to access the Internet or didn’t own an Internet-capable handheld device but said they planned to purchase one in the next 12 months.
Non-users. One-third of this year’s respondents didn’t own an Internet-capable handheld device and didn’t plan to own one in the next 12 months.

More details of the findings can be viewed here.