How Students Actually use Their Computer
Many studies have investigated students’ computer activities. However, all these studies have relied on students reporting their computer use, for example with questionnaires. A study in Learning, Media and Technology investigates students’ computer activities by monitoring their actual use for two months. It turns out that the type of computer activity varies little during an acedemic semester and student break. Visiting social network sites is always the most popular activity.
- The type of computer activity varies little whether students are following classes or not:
- They spend most time using social networking sites, both during the semester and in breaks.
- They spend more time on the university’s learning management system during the semester.
- They also spend less time watching videos during the semester.
- Education professionals should know that students spend more time on the university’s learning management system and less time watching videos during the semester. But they always spend the most time on social networking sites.
How much time do college students actually spend on computer and internet activities? And does it differ during an academic semester or student break?
45 college students between the ages of 18 and 51 years (mean age: 28; 73% female)
Students filled out an online survey about their demographics. After completing the survey, they were asked to install software that monitors their computer activity. Students’ computer activity was recorded for two months: one month during an academic semester and one month of a student break.
Facts and findings
- Students spent most time using social networking sites.
- Facebook was the most popular social networking site.
- Students spent almost as much time on social networking sites during the academic semester as in the student break.
- When classes were in session students spent more time on the university’s learning management system compared to when they had no classes.
- Students also spent less time watching videos when classes were in session.