Every spring, the Academic Technology Advisory Council (ATAC) hosts the Student Technology Panel to better understand the impact technology has on student learning at the University of Iowa and to help create a strategic plan for campus technologies.

Ten students, ranging from first-year to graduate students from a variety of disciplines across campus, were invited to share their perspectives on and interactions with technology in the academic space.

Maggie Jesse, senior director of the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology, facilitated the discussion, asking questions such as, “How do you use technology to support your learning?,” “What can instructors do to make lectures more engaging?,” “Does having tech ever hinder learning and, if so, how?,” and “What is your course textbook usage and preferences?”

Takeaways from the 2019 panel discussion include:

  • Students expressed a strong appreciation for the Outlook calendar.
  • Student response systems (clickers) keep them engaged during lectures.
  • While many of their peers use devices to take notes during class, the 10 panelists present reported that they did not use devices to take notes.
  • Online class options, such as Zoom, are increasingly more important and more students said they were utilizing online options. However, more options are needed.
  • Students continue to seek their own resources for learning, such as YouTube and other websites.
  • Use and acceptance of electronic textbooks and digital content continues to increase. Students appreciate convenience factors—accessibility and searchability—that they offer, but most reported some aversion to reading online (e.g., eye strain).

Be sure to attend next year’s ATAC Student Technology Panel discussion. More information about the February 2020 panel will be posted on the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology events page.