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Taken together, the results regarding the possibility of receiving
instruction by cell phone as well as the students’ own likelihood of using
cell phones for course content indicate that at least the present sample
and possibly the current cohort of MSU students is not ready for emerging
technologies in the field of education. The research team speculated
whether this is because the Internet generation wants things to be easy
and at the touch of their mouse rather than delivered through their cell
phone. To study the role of ease of information acquisition we included
questions that measured students’ perceptions of the ease of gathering
information on the Internet.
Ease of Gathering Information
In order to measure students’ perceptions of the ease of gathering
information on the Internet, the following question was used: “In general I
find that compared to reading textbooks it is easier to gather information
on the Internet”. The response options were limited to “strongly disagree”,
“somewhat disagree”, “somewhat agree”, and “strongly agree”. The
mean response on this four-point scale was 3.1 indicating that on average
students indeed find it easier to search for information on the Internet.
Close to 80% of students leaned towards “somewhat agree” and “strongly
agree” with 37% stating that they strongly agree that it is easier to find
information on the Internet compared to reading books.
It may be for this reason that when given an assignment that
requires research, students most often search the Internet followed by
library resources (including the library website). Fifty seven percent
indicated that this was how they conducted research. Searching library
resources only and talking to a librarian are hardly an option for any
student surveyed (cumulative percentage 1.2%). Online resources are the
predominant form of research used by students on campus.
Reading and Viewing Habits
Students’ readings habits may also be surmised from whether they
read newspapers in addition to course material. When asked about
newspaper reading habits, 56% of students stated that they read the
paper daily or several times a week. Only 11% never read newspapers. Of
those that do read newspapers often, 42% read hard copy. Only 8% read
the paper online without ever reading hard copy.
Television viewing habits were also studied in the survey. On
average students watch one hour and forty five minutes of television
every day. The minimum was zero and the maximum was 8 hours per day.
The majority of students (43%) are watching entertainment channels
such as MTV, VH1, E! and movie channels. Only 8% of students are
watching strictly sports channels such as ESPN. The second most watched
channel type is educational (31%), followed by the local networks (18%).
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