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Lone Star College commissions study on technology use by students

HOUSTON (Sept. 29, 2011) – Lone Star College System has completed a groundbreaking study – “The National Lone Star Report on Aligning Technology with Student Success” – intended to help college leaders align their plans and investments in technology with students’ needs.

While there are a number of reports in the marketplace today regarding use of technology in colleges, “The National Lone Star Report” is the first to leverage the voice of community college students as a key portion of the data collection, said Shah Ardalan, LSCS vice chancellor and CIO.

“The National Lone Star Report” captures data from more than 6,000 students on 36 college campuses, and also includes study and analysis of more than 1.5 million helpdesk inquiries from 55 colleges across the nation,” Ardalan said. “In addition, this report is the first initiative of its kind that was student-led and student-written.

“The National Lone Star Report on Aligning Technology with Student Success’ will allow college administrators access to the collective voice of American students and it provides invaluable data on students’ needs, desires and dreams, and how technology can help them achieve these goals,” Ardalan said.

The methodology used for “The National Lone Star Report on Aligning Technology with Student Success” was undertaken with a simple model: 1) talk to students, 2) survey students, 3) review student issues around campus technology, and 4) analyze the data in combination with other well-established national reports. It is the first national report to exclusively study two-year colleges and their students

There were a number of key findings in the report related to use of technology on campuses that were consistent in student feedback and survey responses:

1)      Students said colleges should not implement technology for the sake of technology.

2)      When technology is deployed, make sure that it works.

3)      Faculty members need to know how to use the technology and they should actually use it.

As part of this student feedback, students said that they felt some colleges confuse the students’ desire for the “right” technology with “more” technology. It doesn’t matter what type of technology is used on campus, as long as it works routinely without getting in the way, the feedback indicated. Non-working or poorly-working technology looks and feels like a waste of time and money for students and the college.

Students also said that frequent use of technology by faculty members, and effective use, is more important than the “flavor” of technology being used.

And finally, the students said that if a technology isn’t easy to use and doesn’t help with the college experience, then it becomes a distraction and could hinder their learning, even their grades.

“The National  Lone Star Report” is a great starting point to offer all community college leaders a fresh look at prioritizing technology decisions with the added criteria of: ‘Does this technology decision align with students being more successful?’” said Ardalan.

This student-led initiative included interviews and surveys from students at community college campuses from all areas of the United States, including both rural and metro-area colleges. The report will be produced annually. 

“The National Lone Star Report on Aligning Technology with Student Success” is available for free download to participating colleges. Others interested in the report may contact Marian Burkhart at Marian.C.Burkhart@LoneStar.edu.  Visit The National Lone Star Report website at LoneStar.edu/nationalstudentreport.htm for more information.

With more than 69,000 students in credit classes for spring 2011, and a total enrollment of more than 85,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.