Why American higher education faculty tend to resist digital materials: new study

Bryan Alexander

GOING DIGITAL Faculty Perspectives on Digital and OER Course Materials
Most American professors generally avoid digital materials, according to a new study.  A minority are interested, but the majority prefer traditional (print) materials, with powerful implications for the intersection of technology and higher education.  Put another way, the classroom use of digital materials is a very divided space, and progress towards the digital is slow.

Casey Green and his Campus Computing Project (about which see below) conducted the research for the Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA), working with nearly 3000 faculty at 29 campuses (15 universities, 9 BA/MA-granting institutions, 5 community colleges).

Let’s break down some details.

The two dominating factors that drive faculty course material decisions are quality and cost.  When professors select analog instead of digital content, it’s largely because of perceived quality and impact on learning: “Faculty are not convinced that digital offers higher quality, provides real added-value content, or improves learning outcomes”.  When…

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