VARIED PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL
LEARNING IN A TECHNOLOGICAL AGE
Working while attending school is something many college students experience. Last year, Henry Fountain, a freshman at Temple University was working two jobs until he finally quit one of them. As a result, Temple University gave him $4,000.
Going to school while working can be tedious. You have to keep up with your studies, while at the same time balance your work schedule and class schedule. Fountain, now currently a sophomore said “[he] was able to see a dramatic difference” in his studies after he quit one of his jobs.
Currently enrolled in Temple’s first cohort of the “Fly in 4” program, Fountain, like many other students in the program are guaranteed that they will complete their degree on time (4 years) or the university will pay for any remaining coursework that needs to be completed.
Students enrolled in this program are required to sign an agreement stating that they will do the following:
1. Consult with an academic advisor at least once a semester.
2. Register and select courses that are consistent with their academic plan.
3. Notify their academic advisor immediately if a course in their academic plan is not available.
4. Complete at least 30 credits a year.
5. Review graduation requirements for their school/college prior to the start of their senior year.
The goal of the program is to save students time and money by ensuring they graduate in four years. The program also gives those students that need additional financial support $2,000 per semester if they agree to only work at most 15 hours a week.
Current Temple President, Neil Theobald said “he was troubled to learn some students were working 40 hours a week while trying to graduate in four years.” Working full-time to pay tuition actually results in costing students more in the long run. They end up having to extend their time at the university and push back their graduation date.
Studies have found that “nearly half of traditional-aged students work while enrolled in college,” and that working more than 20 hours a week can significantly lower grades. However, researchers have found that “students that work [between] 10 to 15 hours per week are actually more likely to earn higher grades than those who don’t work at all.”
The “Fly in the 4” program limits the number of hours a student enrolled in the program is able to work and provides them with the financial assistance that is equivalent to what they would be making if they were to work 30 hours a week.
Reducing the number of hours a student has to work frees up time and “[…] need to earn money, so they can reallocate that time to course work and to staying on track to graduate.”
Barnes and Noble College prides itself on building student and faculty success. We believe in affordability and ensuring that we provide students with the materials they need to enhance their learning. Click here to read Our Complete Solutions for Faculty and Students.
For more information click here to read the original article, “Paid Not to Work?” from Inside Higher Ed.
For more information about Temple’s Fly in 4 program, click here.
CONNECTING WITH FACULTY
SUPPORT BEYOND ADOPTIONS
Often times when considering custom course materials, cost savings to students tends to be a prominent argument. While cost savings continues to be a major concern for students and schools, a recent survey conducted by XanEdu, Inc. confirms that customization along with digital solutions can reduce major challenges in student satisfaction faced by today’s faculty.
Despite the lower than expected digital textbooks sales over the past decade, some possibly surprising student opinions come to light in this survey. It’s clear from these survey results that the digital access is becoming increasingly important to students. 50% of students say they prefer some form of digital access to their course materials including laptop/desktop, tablet and smartphone. And more importantly for faculty, nearly 60% said they would be more likely to use their course materials if they had digital access.
Despite digital textbook sales plateauing in the 5-10% range, this survey shows that today’s college student is seeking a convenient format of hybrid course materials, which gives them the ability to choose print or digital access at a specific moment of need. This may shed light on a simpler path to improving student engagement and outcomes. The more convenient faculty can make access to content the better for student usage.
The modern student has roots in tradition but is evolving with technology and craves a personalized learning experience. In fact, faculty who continue to use expensive, traditional textbooks are being viewed negatively by students more often. This survey showed 57% of students said they would rate a course as “somewhat more negative” or “much more negative” if a professor assigns an expensive resource. Faculty have an opportunity to proactively drive down the cost of their course materials to impact the students’ perspective on the quality of their course.
While many administrations are beginning to promote the use of more cost-effective course materials like custom and OER, the decision to adopt ultimately falls onto the individual instructors. For faculty, cost reduction for students is compelling, but the process of revamping an entire course with OER course materials is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Unfortunately, 50% of college students still believe that their university or college isn’t doing enough to control the costs of course materials. The disconnect between the interest of the administration and the faculty’s ability to implement a change is the challenge to overcome.
Schools that find ways to help their faculty more easily drive down the cost of course materials through customization and alternative course materials should see an immediate increase in students who have access to/ownership of the material. Additional data collected by XanEdu shows that sell through rates are correlated directly to the price of the material. For example, at one partner school, the sell-through rates increased from 68 to 100 percent over two school years after employing XanEdu course materials.
Beyond accessibility and alternative content, a large percentage of students find more value in collaborative learning strategies. According to the same survey as above, 44% of students prefer working collaboratively as opposed to solitary study. This data tells us that students want and expect a more personalize learning approach across the classroom including the course materials.
In summary, the data shows clearly that students want and expect an interactive and collaborative learning experience. Course materials that enable collaboration and learning at the moment of need, can significantly improve student access and opinion of the quality of the course and school’s support.
Data Source: Since 1999, XanEdu has been providing course materials to over 10 million students. XanEdu, Inc. conducted this survey to get a better understanding of generational differences and current/former student learning preferences. This data was gathered was former and current American college students and is statistically significant.