Faculty at Georgia Tech were surveyed during the Fall 1999 semester about the use of computers and software in their classes. While generalizations to all classes cannot be made from the results of this survey (due to low response), the information can provide several clues about the impact of the Student Computer Ownership program.
· Almost one-half of the classes rated used Microsoft Word, and approximately one-third used Excel, PowerPoint, and/or Matlab.
· Microsoft Excel was used almost equally for homework and projects, with one-fifth of the classes using it weekly. Microsoft Word was used more for projects than homework, but about one-third of the classes used it at least monthly for homework and/or projects.
· Maple and Matlab were used mostly for homework, with nearly one-half of the classes who used these packages using Maple monthly and/or Matlab weekly.
· Microsoft PowerPoint, PageMill, and Kaleidegraph were used less often and were mainly utilized for projects.
· Forty percent of the classes required commercial software other than what exists in the recommended package, mostly due to the faculty member’s initiative, and two-fifths of these courses used such software for less than one-third of the required work but 19% used it for all required work.
· Forty-nine percent of the courses rated made significant use of “on-line coursework” developed by the faculty member or others at Georgia Tech.
Over half of the courses rated made significant use in
class of audiovisual projection equipment and/or the Internet.
In early September, 1999, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at the Georgia Institute of Technology sent an email to all faculty (N=1,681) requesting their feedback on the computer software used in their classes. A total of 98 faculty (5.8%) responded by the end of the fall semester with information about 136 classes.
The survey asked questions about the use of software from the required Student Computer Ownership package as well as additional software and other technologies. Responses to two of the questions concerning additional software were only analyzed if the respondent listed which software was being used. A copy of the survey is included as Appendix B.
Because such a low number
of faculty responded to the survey, the results cannot be taken as
representative of all Georgia Tech courses.
However, some valuable information can be gleaned from the
responses given about faculty’s use of computers and software in some
classes at Georgia Tech.
Of the 136 courses rated, 45% were in the College of Engineering and 27% were in the College of Sciences. Table 1 lists all the colleges and the number of courses rated from each. Survey results are reported in sections concerning required software, additional software, and technology.
The Student Computer Ownership program recommends eight types of software. Respondents were asked to rate the frequency of and reason for usage. Almost one-half of the classes rated used Microsoft Word, and approximately one-third used Excel, PowerPoint, and/or Matlab. Table 2 presents these overall results.
For each of the eight types of recommended software, respondents rated how often it was used in their class and for what purpose. Tables 3-10 reveal these detailed results. Microsoft Excel was used almost equally for homework and projects, with one-fifth of the classes using it weekly. Microsoft Word was used more for projects than homework, but about one-third of the classes used it at least monthly for homework and/or projects. Maple and Matlab were used mostly for homework, with nearly one-half of the classes who used these packages using Maple monthly and/or Matlab weekly. Microsoft PowerPoint, PageMill, and Kaleidegraph were used less often and were mainly used for projects.
The classes rated from the College of Engineering were one of the biggest users of Excel, both for homework and projects. Architecture, Management, and Sciences used Word mainly for projects while Engineering and Ivan Allen’s use was more evenly split between homework and projects.
Faculty were asked if they required students to use any other commercial software in their courses. Faculty listed other such software for fifty-four (39.7%) of the classes rated. Appendix A contains the full listing of responses, by type of software. Almost half of the additional packages listed were used in Engineering classes. Those software packages used by 4-6 classes included:
· Web browsers – for weekly homework
· Photoshop / Illustrator – mostly for projects
· MathCAD – weekly or monthly homework
· Spice/Pspice – homework and projects
· Statistical packages for homework and projects.
The extent to which the use of additional software was a result of the faculty member’s own initiative vs. a departmental initiative was also asked. Table 11 reveals that nearly three-fourths of faculty initiated the use of this additional software on their own. Only in the College of Architecture was the initiative more closely split between the faculty member and the school.
Table 12 presents the results of the question concerning the fraction of required coursework directly involving the use of additional software. Two-fifths of the courses rated used other software for less than one-third of the required work, but 19% used it for all required work. One-fourth of the Architecture and Ivan Allen courses rated used such software for all required work.
Faculty were asked about their use of certain technology in their classes. Forty-nine percent (n=66) of the courses rated made significant use of “on-line coursework” developed by the faculty member or others at Georgia Tech. The College of Engineering indicated the least use, while the College of Computing had the most use.
Over half of the courses rated made significant use in class of audiovisual projection equipment and/or the Internet (see Table 13). Of those one-fourth to two-fifths of classes using simulations and student computers, Engineering classes accounted for approximately 50% of the users. Engineering and Science classes were the most likely to use the Internet.
Commercial Software Packages Used
Appendix B: Survey Instrument
out this form for each class that you teach.
I. Course Information
Course Number, including section:
II. Which software from the student software package will you have students use in this course, and how frequently?
1. Microsoft Word
2. Microsoft Excel
3. Microsoft PowerPoint
4. Adobe PageMill
III. Are there any other commercial software packages not in the student software package that you will require students to use in this course, and how frequently?
1. Specify: ______________________________________
2. Specify: ______________________________________
IV. What fraction of the required coursework directly involved the use of this software?
Only Optional Projects
A significant part of the required work, bit less than a third
More than half the required work
All of the required work
V. Does your course make significant use of "on-line coursework" developed by you or others at Georgia Tech for this course?
VI. To what extent is your use of the software referred to in parts III - VI of this survey you own initiative or a department initiative?
Partly departmental, partly own
VII. Does your course make significant use of any of the following in-class technologies?
Audiovisual projection equipment
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Last Modified: September 11, 1998 5:00pm
Approved by External Affairs 10/23/97