Faculty Embracing the Digital Revolution

A new study from Babson Survey Research Group and Inside Higher Ed reveals that the majority of professors are excited about technology trends in higher education, including the growth of e-textbooks and digital library collections, the increased use of data monitoring as a way to track student performance along with their own, and the increasingly popular idea of “flipping the classroom” (a form of blended learning which uses Internet technology in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing).

The Digital Faculty: Professors, Teaching and Technology, 2012 study reports the digital revolution that is changing day-to-day life for the general population also offers new options to faculty for their research and teaching. The expansion of e-textbook options is just one example – over one-third of faculty regularly assigns books that are available in both digital and traditional formats. Another area of growth is the use of video and simulations in courses by faculty.

Among faculty surveyed:

  • 43% say they create digital teaching materials, open educational resources, or capture lectures on a regular or occasional basis.
  • 66% report they communicate with students and record course grades through their Learning Management System (LMS).
  • Over 80% say they use their LMS to share syllabus information on a regular basis.
  • 88% of faculty say they have more fear than excitement about the growth of for-profit education.
  • Over one-half (51.7%) think that digital communication has increased their level of creativity, 38.1% say it has had no impact, and 10.2% report that they believe digital communication has decreased their level of creativity.
  • A substantial majority (75.4%) report that digital communication has increased student-faculty communications.

The report surveyed 4,564 faculty members from a variety of institution types and 591 administrators who are responsible for academic technology at their institutions.

For more information, read the complete report, Digital Faculty: Professors, Teaching and Technology, 2012.