VideoBlocks Report Shows Promise of Digital Media in Education

(Photo: Caio Resende, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Caio Resende, Creative Commons)

The organization VideoBlocks has released a report titled "The State of Digital Media in Higher Education" rife with suggestions for how colleges can use technology more effectively on campus and in the classroom.

The report premised its study on the notion of how, given the rise and ubiquitousness of digital media, "educators can best incorporate digital media resources and digital literacy competencies into their courses." Understanding that one of the biggest challenges facing educators is a lack of university-provided resources to digital media, the report aimed to offer institutions insight into how to close the "digital literacy gap" among universities. The report collected data from more than 300 educators, administrators, and students.

Researchers found that 91% of faculty members interviewed said that including digital media in their courses improve student learning outcomes. Over three-quarters of students (76%) agreed with the faculty, saying that more digitized lectures are more engaging. Despite a wide-ranging consensus about the benefits of incorporating digital media into the classroom, less than half of students and faculty interviewed rated their university-provided resources as average or below average.

Interestingly, the findings on the benefits and lack of digital resources are the only area in the report where there exists more agreement than disagreement between students and faculty. The opinions of students and faculty diverged on issues of digital media and copyright compliance, the other two major foci of the report.

Regarding digital literacy, 45% of students consider themselves as highly digitally literate, whereas only 14% of faculty consider their students in the same light. Ironically, 49% of faculty consider themselves as highly digital literate, whereas only 23% of students would characterize their instructors in the same way. In other words, students and faculty harbor far lower opinions of each other's digital literacy than they do of their own.

As mentioned, the report also touched on matters of copyright compliance. Only 31% of students characterized themselves as knowledgeable about copyright and fair use policies. By contrast, only 5% of faculty rated their students as being familiar with copyright policies; nearly a quarter of faculty members said their students were not knowledgeable of such policies at all.

Additionally, 32% of faculty members surveyed said that their respective universities enforce digital copyright policies too little, and another 21% of faculty respondents never verified copyright compliance of their students' work. 45% of students said they check their own work in compliance with copyright policies, and 13% admitted to using copyright protected digital media for coursework. These results point to an area where faculty and students' thoughts diverge sharply and to a policy with which students and educators could use more training and instruction.

The survey is released at a time when institutions of learning at all levels nationwide at all levels are tweaking their facilities, curricula, and materials to accommodate technology. Going forward, educators face as many challenges as they do possibilities in making the transition into the 21st century. The overall report, which can be found here, is of interest to anyone seeking more insight into universities' incorporation of digital media into the classroom.

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