2018 Mobile Survey Report

Executive Summary

Girls holding phone

To appreciate the landscape of this mainstream technology on campus, a comparative study on the adoption of mobile learning and eTextbooks at the University of Central Florida (UCF) is being conducted.

In 2012, UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) distributed the first survey to students.

Previous Reports

This preliminary report will share the mobile-specific results from the most recent survey that was conducted in Spring 2018. The survey includes both closed and open-ended questions which are based on existing research and surveys previously distributed by the university. It was structured into two main categories: mobile learning (devices and apps) and eTextbooks. Topics include device ownership, access, and beliefs towards the technologies concerning areas such as learning, sense of community, and engagement. Student responses to this survey will allow us to gauge a baseline for usage and beliefs at UCF, compare the results with the 2012-2016 surveys, and shape the next course of action. This report is structured in three sections: mobile device general ownership and usage, mobile app usage and beliefs.

Key findings of this report include:

  • Ownership of mobile devices (99.8%) remains high while tablets ownership (51%) continues to decrease (24%) from their peak in 2016. 
  • Wearable ownership (36%) has increased 36% from 2016
  • Student status, sex, and age (18-64) were demographic factors relating to ownership of tablets, e-Book Readers, and wearables. 
  • There is still a significant difference between instructors requiring the use of mobile devices in coursework and students reporting the use of mobile devices on their own for learning.
  • Music, entertainment, social media mobile apps remain most popular for personal use with students.
  • 86% of all students use the Canvas Mobile app to access online courses while 90% of freshmen use the campus mobile app (UCF Mobile) to access academic and campus resources. 
  • 82% of students (n=3391) indicated that they had used a mobile app for learning at least once each week.
  • The majority of students believe that mobile technologies make coursework easier to access, increase communication, and improve quality of their work.
  • Mobile student ID cards (69%), better integration with the LMS (64%), and more personalized mobile notifications (58%) are the most requested features for the campus mobile app (UCF Mobile). 
  • Limited internet connectivity, limited funds, and lack of technical support are the top reason students may not want instructors to use mobile technologies.

Mobile Device Ownership and Usage

Figure 1: Device Ownership

General Ownership

    • Ownership of smartphones is high at 99.8% (Figure 1). Most students own at least one iPhone (81%) or Android smartphone (20%) (Figure 2).
    • Ownership of tablets is relatively low when compared to smartphones. Tablet ownership is at 57% (Figure 1). Most students own at least one iPad (35%) or Android tablet (17%) (Figure 3).
    • e-Book reader ownership is 23% (Figure 1). Most students own at least one Kindle (17%) or Nook (5%) (Figure 4).
    • Wearable ownership is on the rise at 36% (Figure 1), with the majority of students owning an Apple Watch (18%) (Figure 5).

Figure 2: Smartphone OwnershipFigure 3: Tablet Ownership
Figure 4: e-Book Reader OwnershipFigure 5: Wearable Ownership

Factors

Student status, sex, and age (18-64) demographic factors were not significant for smartphone ownership, but factors in owning a tablet, ebook reader, and wearables are listed below:

Tablet

  • Graduate students reported owning more tablet than undergraduate students or students from the College of Medicine.
  • Part-time students reported owning more tablet than full-time students.
  • Students from Education and COHPA reported owning more tablets than others.
  • Students living off campus reported owning more tablets than others.
  • Female students reported owning more tablet than male students.
  • Older students reported owning more tablets than younger students.

e-Book Reader

  • Graduate students reported owning more ebook reader than undergraduate students.
  • Part-time students reported owning more reader than full-time students.
  • Students from Arts & Humanities and Honors College reported owning more readers than others.
  • Female students reported owning more reader than male students.
  • Older students reported owning more eBook Reader than younger students.

Wearable Devices

  • Graduate students reported owning more wearables than undergraduate students.
  • Seniors reported owning more wearables than freshman, sophomore, and juniors.
  • Part-time students reported owning more wearables than full-time students.
  • Students from the College of Graduate Studies reported owning more wearables than others.
  • Female students reported owning more wearables than male students.
  • Older students reported owning more wearables than younger students.

Figure 6: Student Usage to Instructor Requirement of Devices for Assignments

General Usage

There is a large difference between instructors requiring the use of mobile devices in coursework and students reporting the use of mobile devices on their own for learning (Figure 6).

  • 45% of students reported that their instructors asked them to use a smartphone (e.g., iPhone, Android Phone) to complete an assignment.
  • 82% of students reported using smartphones on their own for learning.
  • 16% of students reported that their instructors asked them to use a tablet (e.g., iPad, Kindle Fire, Android Tablet) to complete an assignment.
  • 26% of students reported using tablets on their own for learning.
  • 11% of students reported that their instructors asked them to use an e-Book reader (e.g., Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader) to complete an assignment.
  • 13% of students reported using e-Book readers on their own for learning.
  • By comparison, 88% of students reported that their instructors asked them to use a laptop/desktop to complete an assignment, while 96% of students reported using laptop or desktop on their own for learning.

Factors

Student classification, residence, race, sex, and GPA emerged as demographic factors relating to student-reported use of mobile devices, tablets, and e-Book readers for learning purposes.

Smartphone

  • Undergraduate students reported using smartphones for learning more than graduate students.
  • Freshmen and sophomores reported using smartphones for learning more than juniors and seniors.
  • Full-time students reported using smartphones for learning more than part-time students.
  • Students with GPA 2.9-2.0 reported using smartphones for learning more than other students.
  • Students from the College of Medicine, Nursing, and COPHA reported using smartphones for learning more than others.
  • African American and Hispanic students reported using smartphones for learning more than other ethnic groups.
  • Female students reported using smartphones for learning more than male students.

Tablet

  • Graduate students reported using tablets for learning more than undergraduate students.
  • Seniors reported using tablets for learning more than other undergraduate students.
  • Students from the Honors College reported using tablets for learning more than students from other colleges.
  • Asians, African American, and Hispanic students reported using tablets for learning more than other ethnic groups.
  • Students living on Rosen campus reported using tablets for learning more than students living off campus, on the main campus, or Affiliated campus apartments.

Mobile Apps

  • Freshmen and sophomores reported using mobile apps for learning more than juniors and seniors.
  • Full-time students reported using mobile apps for learning more than part-time students.
  • Students from the Honors College reported using mobile apps for learning more than students from other colleges.
  • Native and African American students reported using mobile apps for learning more than other ethnic groups.
  • Female students reported using mobile apps for learning more than male students.
  • Students living on the main campus reported using mobile apps for learning more than students living elsewhere.

Figure 7: Most Popular App Categories for Student Personal Use

Mobile App Usage and Beliefs

Student Use of Mobile Apps

82% of students (n=3391) indicated that they had used a mobile app for learning at least once each week. The use of apps in students’ personal lives is extensive and varied. Students selected the app categories that they used most frequently (Figure 7).

When asked how often students use UCF specific apps:

  • 86% responded that they use Canvas Student app
  • 79% responded that they use UCF Mobile app

When asked how students would like UCF to use mobile apps/devices in the future, these areas were most identified:

  • 69% – Student ID cards available on mobile devices
  • 64% – Webcourses grades and communication directly in the UCF Mobile app
  • 58% – Personalized Notifications – Get notified when grades are available, holds on your account, or academic reminders
  • 54% – Classroom attendance check-in through your mobile device
  • 53% – Mobile tools to make it easier for faculty and students use mobile technology for teaching and learning (ex: mobile attendance, clicker app).
  • 53% – Event Tickets – tickets for campus events available on mobile devices
  • 48% – Computer availability in labs on campus
  • 43% – Mobile clicker app to interact and communicate with your teacher in class

Instructor Support

40% of students (n=1680) indicated they would like their instructors to use more mobile apps or devices in coursework. However, students reported modest support from instructors who are using mobile apps/devices in coursework.

  • 54% (n=2241) of students reported their instructor provided instruction on how to use the mobile app/devices in coursework.
  • 40% (n=1634) reported their instructor modeled the use of mobile apps/devices in class.
  • 45% (n=1871) reported their instructor clearly stated the requirement of using a mobile apps/devices in coursework in the course syllabus.

In a follow-up question, the top reasons given for not wanting instructors to use apps/devices include:

  • Limited internet connectivity (on and off campus): 44%
  • Limited funds: 35%
  • Lack of technical support: 31%
  • No interest in learning with a mobile device: 21%
  • Limited or no access to mobile devices: 23%
  • Limited or no access to training resources: 10%

Beliefs

Using a 5-point Likert scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree,” students were asked about the use of mobile apps/devices for academic purposes. Students (N=4135) agreed or strongly agreed to the following items:

  • Easier to access coursework: 77%
  • Increases communication with other students: 68%
  • Increases communication with instructor: 66%
  • Increases knowledge in the field of study: 54%
  • Improves the quality of work: 54%
  • Increases motivation to complete coursework: 48%

About the Report

Institutional Review Board

On 2/13/2014, the IRB approved the following activity as human participant research that is exempt from regulation:
Project Title: Mobile Learning and E-Textbook Survey
Primary Investigator: Baiyun Chen
IRB Number: SBE-12-08441

Contact Information

If you are interested in learning more about this survey or are interested in participating in research opportunities related to mobile technologies and/or eTextbooks, please contact us at the following:

UCF Center for Distributed Learning
2701 Pegasus Drive
Orlando FL 32816-2810
Phone: (407) 823-4910
Email: ucfmobile@ucf.edu

Mobile & eTextbook Survey Team:

Website: https://digitallearning.ucf.edu/msi

Ryan Seilhamer – ryan.seilhamer@ucf.edu
Dr. Baiyun Chen – baiyun.chen@ucf.edu
Dr. Aimee deNoyelles – aimee.denoyelles@ucf.edu
John Raible – john.raibile@ucf.edu
Sue Bauer – sue.bauer@ucf.edu
Ashley Salter – ashley.salter@ucf.edu