2003 Poll - Executive Summary

Executive Summary

The OSU Poll, a study using telephone-based data collection, was conducted during the 2003 Spring quarter, by the Center for Survey Research in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. This annual omnibus survey provides data that is used by many departments for strategic planning in developing and assessing programs and services.

In 2003, valid survey results were received from 1,212 individuals in the following categories: 303 current undergraduate students; 303 current graduate and professional students, 302 non-emeritus, Columbus campus faculty; and 304 current staff. A summary of the results obtained from 50 questions posed by the Offices of the Chief Information Officer (Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Technology Enhanced Learning and Research (TELR) is presented below, with some comparison data from previous years. The question script used to collect the data follows this report and the frequencies and cross-tabulations are presented in an Adobe PDF file in this section.

This analysis of the 2003 poll results was prepared for the Office of the CIO. Poll questions reviewed below fall into these categories: general satisfaction with CIO services; type, number, and connections for personal computing devices; and use of instructional technologies.

Findings continue to indicate a general satisfaction with services offered by the Offices of CIO, as well as improvements in name recognition and understanding of services. Trends in personally owned computing devices reveal a growing and almost universal access to personal computers in the residence among faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. Staff trails only slightly behind. Sixty percent of the faculty has a second home computer, as do a quarter (23%) of the students. An overwhelming preference for Windows PC platforms, strongest among undergraduate (95%) and graduate/professional (93%) students, was shown among all categories. Connectivity to university network from home has also increased during the past year with more than 87% of the OSU Community connecting via several different Internet Service Providers (ISPs), representing a significant shift from dial-up service to high-speed, broadband providers. Although the 2002 PlanIT Customer Satisfaction Survey noted that students wanted more lab seats and longer hours, 80% of the undergraduate and 76% of the graduate/professional students reported using the on-campus computer labs fewer than ten hours week. Use of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) increased among faculty and undergraduate students in this year's sample. Undergraduates reported use of PDAs less often than faculty, graduate students or staff, but their use of the technology increased slightly by 4% during the past year to 16%. There was also an increase of PDAs with wireless network connection among faculty and undergraduates.

Faculty and student use of instructional technologies has widened in the past year. Faculty access to software, equipment and Internet-ready classrooms was the most important consideration in implementing instructional technology (84%), whereas, rewards for using instructional technology was least important (22%). Help and support available to use instructional technology was a lesser concern in 2003 (63%), while approximately half the faculty (47%) continued to focus on maintaining intellectual property when developing instructional technologies.

Among students, undergraduates indicated that over a third of their courses incorporated instructional technologies in nearly every classroom, only slightly higher usage than what graduate/professional students reported. Compared to the previous year's polling, undergraduates also express slightly less interest in online classes (32%), but somewhat higher than graduate students (24%). While information technology is important to nearly all students, graduates and undergraduates alike (85%) indicated a preference for face-to-face instruction.

General Satisfaction with CIO Services

As a whole, 45% of the faculty were satisfied (31%) and very satisfied (14%) with the instructional support services offered the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Only 5% of the faculty reported being unsatisfied with the services and one-third (32%) did use the services. Two-thirds of the university community expressed satisfaction with the communications produced by the Office of the CIO (e.g. CIO and OIT Web sites to keep informed about technology-related events and services on campus). This was confirmed across the four populations, strongly agreeing or agreeing that the communications keep them informed as indicated by the following levels: staff (75%), undergraduate students (67%), faculty (64%) and graduate/professional students (63%). All four groups almost unanimously concurred (86%) Instructional Technology resources at OSU met their technology needs (93% undergraduates, 88% graduate/professional, 86% staff and 79% faculty).

Type, Number, and Connections for Personal Computing Devices

Home Computers
Almost all faculty, graduate/professional, undergraduates and staff have access to personal computers in the home (97%, 95%, 97%, and 86% respectively in 2003 compared to 97%, 92%, 92% and 85% for the same groups in 2002).

Some differences in type and number of computers continue to be found between faculty and students. Of respondents reporting local residence or home computer use, modest gains were reported for laptop use as the primary computers among 32% of faculty, 30% of graduate/professionals, 23% of undergraduates, and 15% of staff. The platform for the primary home computer (desktop or laptop) is overwhelmingly Windows PC (75% faculty, 94% graduate/professionals, 97% undergraduates, and 89% of staff). Macintosh is reported by 21% of the faculty (no change from 2002 and down from 25% in 2001) as the primary platform. In the other groups, Macintosh platforms account for significantly smaller percentages of the home computer environment and remained substantially the same as 2002 (3% for undergraduates, 6% for graduate/professionals, and 8% for staff).

Secondary Computers
Added to the poll for 2002 was the question on the number of computers in the home. Sixty-two percent of faculty, 39% of graduate/professionals 20% of undergraduates and 26% of the staff report having access to two or more computers in 2003 (compared respectively to 52%, 25%, 26%, and 31% in 2002).

Secondary computers were laptops for 44% of faculty, 47% of graduate/professionals, 45% of undergraduates, and 41% of staff. The use of laptops as the second computer at home continued to increase significantly among students and staff. The increase use of wireless connection capability was reported for secondary computers by one-third of all groups in the 2003 poll.

As with the primary computers, the platform reported for secondary computers overwhelmingly was Windows, with Macintosh being used in numbers similar to its use on the primary computer (faculty 19%; staff 9%, undergraduates 5% and graduate/professionals 4%).

Internet Service Provider for Home Computers
Between 1999 and 2002, the ISP use from home has steadily increased, but showed substantially no change from the previous year. From 1999 to 2002, the percentage of respondents reporting use of an ISP to connect to the university network was 78%, 80%, 82%, 88%, respectively and 87% indicating connectivity in 2003. Use of Roadrunner for connection increased from 19% in 2001 to 27% in 2003. By 2003, the use of HomeNet and dial-up services (42%) was eclipsed by high-speed, broadband service (45%) as the primary connection to the university network. Additionally, there was a significant difference among the four groups not having an ISP, with 10% overall reporting no home connection to OSU. While only 2% of the undergraduates and 8% of graduate/professional students lack a home connection to the university network, faculty (12% down from 15% in 2002) and staff (18% down from 24% in 2002) lag behind the student community.

Eighty-three percent of undergraduates report having a home ISP prior to coming to OSU; 52% retained this service. Sixty percent of graduate students report having a home ISP prior to coming to OSU; 46% retained the service (an increase of 6% from the previous year).

All populations report a slight increase in connectivity from last year, with the exception of graduate/professional students who showed no change. Staff made the most gains in this area, with a 6% increase in connectivity. Undergraduate students remain well connected (5% did not have an ISP in 2001 compared to 2% in 2003). Graduate students follow closely with 8% not having an ISP in 2003 (compared to 10% in 2001). Faculty home ISP use increased 5%, from 12% to 17% over the two years. Staff continued to trail all groups in access to an ISP, but substantially improved from 37% reporting no home connectivity in 2001 to 19% in 2003.

Of those who do connect to the university network from home, the hourly usage varied according to population. Faculty and undergraduates lead in hours connected from home (23% report more than 20 hours per week), followed by grad students (19%) and staff reporting the least hours (8%).

Computer Lab Use by Students
Computer lab use was reported at fewer than 10 hours per week for 80% of the undergraduates and 76% of the graduates. An additional 13% of the undergraduates and 16% of graduate students report using the labs between 10 and 20 hours per week. Labs were used between 21 and 60 hours per week, by 5% undergraduates and 6% of the graduate students. One percent undergraduates and 2% graduate students report more than 60 hours per week use.

Viruses, Virus protection, and Firewalls
In 2003, viruses were experienced by 49% of the faculty (decreasing from 58% in 2002), compared with 37% of undergraduates, 35% of graduates, and 29% of staff. This may be attributed to improved education about the installation and updating of anti-virus software. Virus protection was reported installed on most primary computers at home (faculty 90%; undergraduates 89%; and 87% of both graduate/professionals and staff). Of the community, 24% use personal firewalls.

Use of Handheld and Wireless Devices
A question on the use of handheld devices appeared for the first time in 2001. This year, use of handhelds was up slightly overall (16% in 2001 compared with 22% last year and 28% in 2003). Faculty use of handhelds increased the most, from 24% to 33% over the past two years, with graduate/professional student use rising from 14% to 24%, and staff use from 13% to 20%. Undergraduate use increased only slightly at 14% in 2001 and 16% in 2002.

The use of PDAs with wireless network moderately increased (21% in 2001 and 28% in 2003), with graduate students in 2002 reporting the highest percentage of wireless PDA connectivity (undergraduates 34%, graduate/professional students 32%, staff 30% and faculty 21%). Use of the Web with wireless telephone service, however, was up significantly from 6% in 2001 to 21% over the past two years. Undergraduates reported the highest use of technology (38%) followed by graduate/professional students (27%), staff (18%), with faculty (10%) using wireless telephone the least.

Use of Instructional Technologies

The 2003 poll incorporated a number of new or revised questions regarding use of instructional technologies and Informational Technologies (IT) that differed from the previous year by category polled. In an effort to benchmark future trends, responses to new questions included in the 2002 survey that were repeated in 2003, became part of this year's comparative analysis.

Information Technology Support Resources and Services
The poll analysis shows an overwhelming approval (84%) of IT services on campus (with 92% of the undergraduates satisfied or very satisfied, followed by 88% of the graduate/professional students, staff 75% and faculty 71%). Noteworthy were the few faculty who either strongly agreed or agreed that IT was a factor in coming to OSU (6% compared to 4% in 2002) or a factor for remaining at OSU (6% compared to 5% reported in the previous year). The survey results continue to indicate that approximately two-thirds of the university community was satisfied or very satisfied with the helpfulness and responsiveness of other IT support. Graduate/Professional students reported the highest level (67%) followed by staff (66%), undergraduates (62%) and faculty (60%). With regards to central OSU e-mail services, not the individual college or department service, most members of the university community reported being satisfied or very satisfied. The findings similarly tracked the four population's responses to general level of satisfaction for IT overall at OSU. Undergraduates reported the highest level of satisfaction (83%) followed by (78%) graduate professional students, (75%) staff and (71%) faculty. Conspicuously notable were the differences between undergraduates who were familiar or very familiar (44%) with the IT resources on campus compared to the 30% graduate/professional student population, followed by 27% staff and 25% faculty.

The 2003 poll findings revealed two areas of concern with regards to security and privacy. Fifty-nine percent of the faculty were somewhat concerned (46%) or very concerned (17%) with the security of their electronic data, while noticeably 71% were somewhat concerned (45%) or very concerned (26%) about the privacy of their communications.


Frequency and Type: In 2003, sixty-nine percent of the faculty strongly agreed or agreed that current instructional technology environment supported their teaching or instruction. Most faculty strongly agreed or agreed (80% versus 74% in 2002) that OSU computing and electronic resources could be accessed from their lab or office compared with 48% that strongly agreed or agreed the same resources accessed from home (45% reported in 2002). Additionally, 68% of the faculty either strongly agreed or agreed that IT helped increase their impact or productivity (compared to 70% in 2002). There was minimal change reported this year among faculty and staff, 82% for both groups strongly agreed or agreed, about using Information Technology to continue their professional development versus the 83% and 81% reported the previous year.

Forty-four percent of the faculty reported using new instructional technologies (e.g., the World Wide Web, lab simulations, PowerPoint presentations or other distance learning technologies) in nearly every class session, compared to 38% in 2002 and 25% in 2001. An additional 18% said they used instructional technologies in several class sessions, compared to 23% in 2002 and 21% in 2001. Those who report never using these tools continued to drop, from 33% in 1999 to 16% in 2003. E-mail remains the most widely used instructional technology (23%), followed by computer-projected materials, (19%), Web-based materials (17%) and online syllabus and other handouts (17%). Further, most faculty (80%) strongly agreed or agreed that IT was important to their student's success (similar to the 79% reported in 2002). Somewhat predictably, most faculty also either agreed (46%) or strongly agreed (34%) that majors in their discipline should be required to demonstrate a certain level of knowledge regarding computer applications in their discipline.

Only 15% of the faculty and 18% of graduate/professional students used parallel high performance computing for instruction or research (an increase from the 5% and 12% reported in 2002); whereas, 19% of the faculty and 12% of the graduate professional/students used computer generated animation or graphics for instruction or research (compared to 7% and 4% respectively in the previous year. Compared to the other technologies, the frequent or very frequent use computer-based simulations, modeling, or visualization for instruction or research was somewhat higher among faculty (25%) and graduate/professional students (18%).

Faculty who used the services were satisfied (31%) and very satisfied (14%) with the instructional support offered by the Offices of the CIO. An additional 17% were somewhat satisfied, for a total satisfaction rating of 62%. Four percent were not satisfied. Thirty-two percent have not used the services.

Faculty were somewhat evenly split on the desire to offer distance-learning courses. Of the 302 faculty polled in 2003, 38% said they would (down from 44% in 2002), 59% said they would not (an increase from 38% in 2002), and 3% indicated they did not know if they would like to or not.

Rated by faculty as important or very important considerations in their decision to implement instructional technology in their classes were access to software equipment and network (21%), help and support to use instructional technologies (16%), maintaining ownership of the intellectual property developed within the context of instruction (12%) followed by rewards for using instructional technologies (6%).

WebCT Usage by Faculty: Of the 302 valid faculty responses received, 79 (26% an increase from16% in 2002) reported using WebCT, 221 (73% down from 79% in 2002) reported no use of WebCT, and only 2 (1%) said they did not know if they used it or refused to respond to this question. Of the 221 faculty in the survey who reported not using WebCT, 11% indicated they did not know how to get started; 16% said they had no time for development; 25% did not know what WebCT is; 20% said it did not fit their course needs; 0.5% answered "don't know" and 6% said they had other means to manage courses. Twenty-two percent cited a variety of other reasons including the belief this course management system has a step learning curve, not currently teaching, the need for more information, not using technologies or these faculty were satisfied with their current approach.

Help needed: Other questions were posed to help understand what assistance faculty need in adding these technologies to their classes. Two-thirds of the faculty were somewhat concerned (45%) or very concerned (21%) with the time it takes to learn and use technology. This finding may be offset with 48% of the faculty who reported having much of what is needed and the 17% having everything needed to learn and use technology.

The top three needs (training, incentives, and assistance) were consistent with responses from previous years. In 2003, faculty were asked how they would like to receive their training. In descending order, faculty cited the following ways: cohort workshops (80%) workshops with instructor (79%) and one-on-one mentoring (69%). In 2002, hands-on workshops with instructor ranked slightly higher than cohort workshops.

Preferences: For the past four years, faculty have been asked if given adequate support, would you be interested in offering a fully online, distance education course? Those who said they would were 52% in 2000, 39% in 2001, 44% in 2002 and declining to 38% in 2003. Three percent did not know or were uncertain of their interest in offering online or distance education courses, still a substantial change from 2001's 28%. For the most part, this data may indicate faculty have, made decisions regarding teaching distance courses, although with the decline in interest reported for 2003, that item should be carefully followed to determine if this trend continues.


Both groups of students overwhelmingly (96%) feel that information technology is either very (58% compared to 54% in 2002) or somewhat (37% compared to 42% in the previous year) important in education. Seventy-eight percent of the students strongly agreed or agreed that use of information technology makes them marketable to future employers. Additionally, most students strongly agreed or agreed (86% versus 89% in 2002) that use of IT helped make them more likely to succeed in their future academic work.

Of the undergraduate and graduate/professional student samples for 2003, 82% reported using instructional technology in their classes during Autumn 2002. Thirty-six percent of the students reported having instructors incorporate instructional technology in nearly every class (up from the 33% for last year's poll and 18% reported in 2001), in several classes (26% up from 23% reported in last year's poll, but down from 24% in 2001), or a few classes (20%). Undergraduates reported higher usage than graduate/professionals (92% v. 71% in 2003 compared to 87 v. 71 in 2002), but more of a difference was reported for "a few classes" (26% v. 14%0 than the instructional technology used in "several classes (30% v. 22%). As noted in 2002, given that, for the most part, graduate and professional students enroll in focused areas of study rather than in university-wide study, the finding speaks to program level adoption of instructional technologies.

Undergraduate students were slightly more interested in online classes than graduate/professional students (fully online, 32% v. 24% in 2003 compared to 41% v. 36% in the previous year and partly on-line, 44% v. 30% in 2003 contrasted 55% v. 43% reported in 2002). Eighty-five percent of both groups of students reported being "primarily interested in face-to-face classes."