Results from the CIDDL Needs Assessment: Are Faculty and their Institutions Digitally Ready?
In the spring of 2023, CIDDL conducted a needs assessment to determine how we can best support faculty, as per our mission statement. CIDDL focused our research on three main questions. We will address the second question in this blog post by sharing our findings and discussing the implications. To learn more about the participants and methodology, read the introductory blog of this series. We addressed the first question in a previous blog and will address the third in a future blog.
The second question guiding our needs assessment was “To what extent are IHE faculty (and their institutions) engaging their students in learning environments optimized through pedagogically sound technology use?" Are they and their institutions digitally ready? To answer this question, we analyzed the results of the 77 higher education participants who responded to our survey. Of those, 51% were faculty in colleges of education and 25% were graduate and postdoctoral students. The remainder were other members of higher education including department chairs and faculty from other departments. The majority of respondents were from public institutions (77%), with 31% from Minority Serving Institutions. They included professionals in the areas of special education, general education, early intervention, and related services.
To answer this question, results were analyzed based on departmental readiness, faculty readiness, instructional practices, and the impact on students in institutions of higher education. In the following sections, we will share these results.
These findings focused on the overall department’s digital readiness. Over 50% of participants stated that their departments were at least partially ready in all categories. The breakdown of findings was as follows: had established and supported a common digital learning environment (an LMS) for students and faculty (61%), provided all faculty with a device (52%), had established expectations that course content would represent contemporary technologies used in the field (25%), had established norms for student use of digital devices in classes (23%), and provided faculty with a budget for specialized hardware, apps, or resources that were relevant and necessary to meet teaching responsibilities (17%).
The findings in this area were a result of questions that asked faculty to self-evaluate their level of digital readiness. Results indicated that 28% of participants felt that they were knowledgeable users, 42% were critical users, and 23% were gaining confidence.
These results indicate that, while individual faculty are using digital tools in redesigned learning environments, most departments are not at full digital readiness in terms of infrastructure, policy, or sound practices.