Technology and Students: ECAR Survey Results


Written by Patricia Carlucci, with Judy Rothschild-Best

Do Fordham students consider their laptop or smartphone to be most important to their academic success? What do Fordham students really think about the use of technology in their academic endeavors? What would they do if they did not have their tablets or smartphones available – and charged?

To find out, Fordham University participates in various surveys that help us to assess the value of our technology service offerings to our own students, as well as in comparison with other institutions. This gives us the opportunity to support our assumptions with actual data and strategically plan for the future.

One important survey we have participated in for the past three years is hosted by Educause Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR). Educause is a consortium of colleges and universities that collaborates to learn from each other and to assess the state of technology in higher education. Many of us in Fordham IT actively participate in a variety of activities offered by Educause, including the annual national conference and regional ones.

The ECAR online study surveys over 75,000 undergraduate students from Fordham and more than 200 other institutions from 15 different countries. Students are asked questions such as what devices they own, how they use them, and what their general perceptions of technology are at their institution. In addition to learning about student usage and preferences in regards to technology, information gathered from this survey guides us in the development of new initiatives and the assessment of existing ones. We can see contradictions in some common stereotypes by providing invaluable, and often surprising, insight into students’ inclinations toward technology.

Below is a small sample of the most recent survey results. If you are curious about other questions that students are asked and how they respond, please contact Judy Rothschild at

1. What kind of portable devices do students own?  How does Fordham compare with other institutions?

2. Which devices do Fordham students consider to be the most important to their academic success?

Note: “Extremely important” is represented by the blue-green bar; “very important” by the purple bar.
Patricia Carlucci is a Strategic Program Auditor.

Judy Rothschild is Manager of Student Technology Services.


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