Nice Survey, Shame About the Lede

Some great insights from Tyton's Time to Class survey, but a faulty top-line conclusion

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This week’s report from Tyton Partners, Time for Class, 2024: Unlocking access to effective digital teaching and learning, offers some great insights into student, instructor, and administrator preferences and challenges with digital learning. But the insight that has grabbed all the headlines is based on asking the wrong question about the data.

The growing influence of the Tyton survey

The Time for Class survey from Tyton has become one of, if not the, go-to survey on technology and learning in higher ed. This stems from the fact that they capture the differing perspectives from administrators, faculty, and students, they are based on large samples, and they ask big questions rather than getting bogged down in minutia. And quite simply, there are well done and well documented.

I want to highlight three pieces of data I found interesting. But I also will share my frustration with some aspects of the survey, especially the top line conclusion from the data which a lot of media (and Tyton’s own press release) are emphasizing.

Faculty and students not on the same page

One the findings which will no doubt capture a lot of attention are the differing preferences on the part of instructors and students when it comes to course modality.

Although we should be used to this situation, the differences between instructor and student preferences are still striking. Unfortunately, instructor preferences seem to be shifting in the wrong direction, albeit to a small degree. Last year 55% of instructors preferred face-to-face and 12% preferred online fully asynchronous courses.

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