The University of Rhode Island will participate in a survey regarding technology in higher education to determine the needs and desires of the community.
The survey is run by the non-profit group Educause, a group whose mission, according to their website, is to “support those who lead, manage, deploy and use information technology to advance higher education.”
Educause launched two surveys: one for students and one for faculty. The survey will ask students questions such as how they feel about Wi-Fi on campus and if students use Apple or Windows computers.
“[Educause produces] a top 10 list [of universities] annually and they run an annual core data survey,” Chief Information Officer Karlis Kaugars said. “About 10 or 12 years ago [Educause] said ‘That’s great, but how do students and faculty feel about [information technology] in their survey?’”
Kaugars hopes that the survey will aid in developing the University’s Information Technology (IT) strategic plan. This plan focuses on improving IT across campus for professors, students and promoting a better learning environment.
“Next year is the last year of our [current] IT strategic plan, so we need to plan for the next five years,” said Kaugars. “This data will help inform that plan.”
Kaugars praised the effectiveness of the survey as it plays into the strategic plan. However, not every student at URI holds the same sentiment as Kaugars.
“I feel like URI is at zero to below zero in the important population of the survey,” said Enock Osamaye, a junior computer science major, in regards to how substantial the University would be to the study on a broader level.
IT expected this and is hoping to change this perspective with the help of the survey.
“The way it’s set up is that there are professional statisticians involved,” said Kaugars. “One of the features is that you don’t have to ask every student. [The] system randomly selects a few thousand students and they will be asked to finish the survey.”
Kaugars was unsure as to why the University had not participated in years past. He suggested that it was possibly due to the school being unaware of the survey.
Previous nationwide surveys have found that students prefer face-to-face learning
environments and that campus housing are rated last on campus, according to Educause’s website. This survey will compare how URI students feel compared to students at universities around the world in a statistical manner where students can have their opinions heard.
Some students, such as senior Shawn Beil, welcome the survey with open arms.
“I don’t think it’d be a big deal to contribute to the collection of data to better our [campus],” Beil said.