According to a recent study conducted by OnlineColleges.net, six out of ten students won’t consider a college unless the education institution provides access to “free” Wi-Fi services on campus. While any development and maintenance costs of a campus-wide Wi-Fi network is ultimately billed to the students through tuition costs, colleges that are behind the curve on providing Wi-Fi infrastructure may be negatively impacted by this trend. Seventy-five percent of students believe that Wi-Fi access on college campus helps them get better grades during the semester and 90 percent believe Wi-Fi is just as essential to an education as a computer or a classroom.
When asked what was the one online resource or site that they could not live without, the most common answer was Google. Other responses included Wikipedia, Blackboard, Yahoo! and Facebook. When it came to social media, 86 percent of the respondents use a social networking site and 15 percent wished that their instructors used Facebook more often. In addition, 58 percent of students are very comfortable talking about class assignments over a social network. When asked if it was appropriate to befriend an instructor on a social network, nearly 40 percent thought that was an inappropriate action.
When asked about the most important types of computer hardware, the most common answers included laptops, printers, desktop computers and USB drives. Other pieces of hardware that supported further education included smartphones, eReaders, tablets and MP3 players. The most popular forms of software vital to education include word processors, e-mail and presentation software like PowerPoint. In regards to college performance with technology, 43 percent believe that their college needs more technology and only 59 percent think that their college is putting good use to the available technology on hand. However, nearly a third of respondents stated that their instructor often needs help getting classroom technology to work correctly.