WHICH MEDIA SERVICES DO STUDENTS USE IN FACT? RESULTS OF AN INTERNATIONAL EMPIRICAL SURVEY
The dissemination of online information services into tertiary education has led to constant changes in students’ learning and study behaviour. Students use services such as Google and Wikipedia most often not only during free time but also for learning. At the same time, traditional information media such as textbooks or printed hand-outs still form basic pillars in their learning environment. To measure the media usage for learning and its effects on the learning success, an international long term media survey in tertiary education was set up by the authors. It aims to get detailed knowledge about how students use media for study on an international level. Based on this data, recommendations for university media strategy and prognoses for future media trends in higher education are deduced. Beginning with a first survey carried out at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany in 2009, currently a total of 30 surveys in ten countries were carried out. The survey uses a fully standardized questionnaire that measures the acceptance of 48 media services, such as Google search, library catalogues, printed books, e-books, printed journals, e-journals, e-learning-services, virtual class, Wikipedia, open educational resources, bibliographic software and more. Beyond, also other variables are evaluated, like the learning behaviour, study success, media usage during free time, usage of IT hardware, education biography and sociodemographic factors. The questionnaire contains a total of 150 questions. In addition to the students’ survey also teachers’ and administrative staff were surveyed at several universities to discover differences in the media usage cultures of these groups and the students.
The presentation will focus on the results of one Spanish survey, that was carried out at the University of Barcelona between March and June 2012. There, about 1,000 samples were collected. The data showed an intense use of a broad variety of media. Though, not all media services were accepted: while especially some university external services, such as Google web search or Wikipedia were used by almost every student, other media, e.g. virtual learning services were used on a very low level. A closer look at hidden structures of the data, using factor and cluster analysis revealed that especially text and text related media (books, ebooks, library catalogues) seem to have a positive effect on the learning success. A comparison of the Barcelona sample with the data of other countries showed some communalities, e.g. a high usage of Google and other external services. But there were also hints to cultural differences, such as a relatively maverick or non-social learning behaviour. In contrast to students from other countries, Spanish students seem to strongly prefer learning on their own. This general tendency also appears in the media sector where they tend to use information media and, compared to students from other countries, use less social media.