The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Potential, Issues of Digital Courseware

A new report on digital courseware adoption found that 54% of responding faculty members used it during the 2013-14 school year and 52% said they saw the potential impact it could have on learning. Time for Class: Lessons for the Future of Digital Courseware in Higher Education, Part 1: Faculty Perspectives on Courseware also reported there were still barriers to be addressed.

“I feel pressured to use online instruction in some way at our institution, but I believe it mostly requires an increase in labor for instructors,” one respondent wrote in the report. “I am not sure of the benefit it actually provides over traditional delivery in my area of teaching.”

The report described digital courseware as “curriculum delivered through purpose-built software to support teaching and learning.” It is seen as a way to deliver personalized instruction on a variety of technology-driven platforms and improve student outcomes, according to an article in eCampus News.

The survey noted that 60% or respondents said they were encouraged to use digital courseware in their class, but just 30% said they were trained to use it effectively. Faculty members also saw costs to students, the overall effectiveness of the programs; lack of alignment with instructional design, reduced control over content, and resistance to the new instruction methods as barriers to widespread adoption of digital courseware.

“Once you decide to use courseware, you are in for a long but interesting ‘slog’ to learn a system, to create materials for class, and to keep growing,” wrote another faculty respondent. “After 12 years and the use of four different packages, I have yet to find a student who thinks it has improved their education in ways other than decreasing the amount of time they have to spend in the library.”

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