Open Educational Resources
Custom analysis of OER survey data is now available on a for-fee basis.
A new report from the Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson finds that college faculty members have become sophisticated consumers of social media, matching different sites to their varying personal, professional, and teaching needs — yet obstacles to wider adoption still remain. The annual survey of nearly 8,000 teaching faculty — from all disciplines in higher education and selected to be representative of the overall range of faculty teaching in U.S. higher education — examined both the personal and professional impacts of social media.
Report is available in multiple formats:
- E-book in epub format (Sony Reader, Nook, or iPad)
- E-book in mobi format (Kindle and Kindle DX)
Key findings of the survey include:
- The level of personal use of social media among faculty (70.3 percent) mirrors that of the general population
- 55 percent of faculty use social media in a professional context (any aspect of their profession outside of teaching), up from 44.7 percent last year
- Only 41 percent of faculty use social media in the classroom, but this use continues to experience steady year-to-year growth
- Faculty are sophisticated consumers of social media. They match different sites to their varying personal, professional, and teaching needs
- Concerns remain about privacy, maintaining the class as a private space for free and open discussion, and the integrity of student submissions
- Most faculty agree that “the interactive nature of online and mobile technologies create better learning environments” and that digital communication has increased communication with students
- Faculty believe that online and mobile technologies can be distracting, and that they have resulted in longer working hours and more stress
"Faculty are not only expanding their use of social media, but also becoming more sophisticated in their use," said Jeff Seaman, Ph.D., co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. "We see steady growth in adoption year over year; however, there are still great concerns that we hear from every age group, and that holds educators back from full adoption in their teaching.".
The conclusion that faculty members have not widely embraced social media for teaching purposes remains; they continue to have many concerns. The results for 2013 show the same two concerns topping the list as were noted for both 2011 and 2012 — privacy and the integrity of student submissions. However, each year more educators are finding that social technologies can provide new opportunities to engage learners, and are discovering impactful strategies for using them in face-to-face, blended and online classrooms.
College faculty have evolved their use of social media for professional, personal and instructional use, with a decrease in concerns around the value and amount of time spent using social media, according to a new report from the Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson. The annual survey of nearly 4,000 teaching faculty from all disciplines in higher education, representing U.S. higher education professors, examined both the personal and professional impacts of social media.
Key findings of the survey include:
- 64.4 percent of faculty use social media for their personal lives, 33.8 percent use it for teaching
- 41 percent for those under age 35 compared to 30 percent for those over age 55 reported using social media in their teaching
- Faculty in the Humanities and Arts, Professions and Applied Sciences, and the Social Sciences use social media at higher rates than those in Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science
- Blogs and wikis are preferred for teaching, while Facebook or LinkedIn are used more for social and professional connections
- 88 percent of faculty, regardless of discipline, reported using online video in the classroom
"Faculty are clearly becoming more comfortable leveraging social media in their personal, professional and instructional lives," said Jeff Seaman, Ph.D., co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. "Social media is no longer seen as time-consuming to learn and use, which shows that faculty are more proficient and better acquainted with the social media tools available to them."Digital Faculty, Professors, Teaching and Technology, 2012 is a joint project of Inside Higher Ed and the Babson Survey Research Group.
The same digital revolution that is changing day-to-day life for the general population also presents new options to faculty for their research and teaching. The growth of e-textbook options is one example – over one-third of faculty regularly assign books that are available in both e-textbook and traditional formats. Another area of rapid faculty adoption is in the use of video and simulations in courses.
Faculty members are not only selecting digital material from other sources, they are also creating their own for use within their classes. Forty-three percent of instructors say they create digital teaching materials, open educational resources, or capture lectures on a regular or occasional basis, but they do have concerns that the time and effort they put into the creation and production of their own materials will not be respected and rewarded by their institution.
Faculty are not yet abandoning traditional scholarly publishing outlets to embrace digital-only publications. The lack of faculty digital publication submissions does not mean that they do not respect online-only publications. When asked if the quality of online-only journals can be equal to work published in print, a majority of faculty members agreed that it could.
Faculty do not believe that online-only work is currently given the same level of respect in tenure and promotion decisions, but many faculty members believe that it should be.
Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012 is a joint project of Inside Higher Ed and the Babson Survey Research Group. It is designed to inject the voice of the faculty into the growing national discussion about online education. The study was made possible in part with the financial support of CourseSmart, Deltak, Pearson and Sonic Foundry. All decisions about the nature and wording of the surveys were made by BSRG and Inside Higher Ed.
The study is based on the results of two related, but separate, surveys. The first is a nationally representative sample of higher education faculty members who are teaching at least one course during the current academic year. The second focused on academic administrators – in particular those responsible for academic technology at their institutions.
Faculty report being more pessimistic than optimistic about online learning. Academic technology administrators, on the other hand, are extremely optimistic about the growth of online learning, with over 80 percent reporting that they view it with "more excitement than fear."
Professors, over all, cast a skeptical eye on the learning outcomes for online education. Nearly two-thirds say they believe that the learning outcomes for an online course are inferior or somewhat inferior to those for a comparable face-to-face course. Most of the remaining faculty members report that the two have comparable outcomes. Even among those with a strong vested interest in online education – faculty members who are currently teaching online courses – considerable concern remains about the quality of the learning outcomes. Teaching, Learning, and Sharing: How Today's Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media (pdf). The survey of nearly 2,000 faculty found that more than 90 percent of college faculty use social media in the workplace, compared to 47 percent of employees in other industries. In the classroom, 80 percent of respondents report using social media for some aspect of their course. Of those, nearly two-thirds use social media within their class session, and 30 percent post content for students to view outside of class.
More than one-third of public university faculty have taught an online course while more than one-half have recommended an online course to students, according to Online Learning as a Strategic Asset, Volume II: The Paradox of Faculty Voices: Views and Experiences with Online Learning (pdf), an unprecedented study of administrative and faculty views toward online learning by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning.