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What do students want?

Community Coach
Community Coach
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As an initial foray into how do students want us (the College) to communicate with them we had a small group of students answer some questions about how they are already using technology and how they would like to receive information. The information below is a slice of what we found and how it relates to mobile.


We asked students how frequently they checked different types of communication methods (ex: Student e-mail, personal e-mail, Canvas inbox, Facebook, Twitter, Text Messages, cell phone, etc). The biggest takeaway from their responses? In regards to immediate (pop-up type notifications) 72.5% of the students were getting them for text messages and 67.5% were getting them for other applications on their phone. These percentages were by far the largest and seemed to clearly indicate that these students get information the fastest on their phones.


We also provided students with a list of types of information (Official College business, Instructor/course, student events/activities, academic success, & technical help) and asked how they would like to receive this information. Overwhelmingly students did not appear to want information sent via text message (everything was 36% or lower) or an actual phone call (13% or lower). So on one hand students get information the quickest from their phones. Yet, they don't seem to want to get information from the College sent via text or a phone call, so from their phones.


So how did they want to receive information? For each type of information listed below the percentage and type of communication is the highest received for that category.

  • Official College business: 61.54% said Canvas
  • Instructor/course: 90.00% said Canvas
  • Student events/activities: 57.78 said Student E-mail
  • Academic Success: 58.97% said Canvas
  • Technical Help: 60.53% said Canvas


I didn't do a formal analysis on this, but it seems from their responses that students want to get College information (of all types) through Canvas. It also seems that in general students get information the fastest from their phones. So what seems to make sense? Harness the power of Canvas mobile and notifications to get information to students! Sounds like a perfect pairing, right? But what if students start getting everything in Canvas, will they start treating it like other types of communication and stop paying as close attention to it? In addition, it seems like there is some new stuff (Student Performance Texts) coming through the pipes that might change the whole playing field. I have a lot more questions than I do answers, but this is a timely and interesting topic and I Iook forward to seeing where the next steps of this research takes us!