Technology is increasingly mobile and social, resulting in dynamic digital and interactive environments. The ubiquitous nature of interactive instructional technology presents new paradigms for higher education, creating challenges for instructors to compete for time and attention as students are bombarded by information in a digital, media rich world.
The problem being studied, with all of these technological advancements, is how instructors can approach these challenges from a user experience (UX) perspective. A macro level view sees college students taking multiple courses at a time, over many semesters, and using different interactive instructional technology that mix with other forms of online media consumption. The purpose of this qualitative case study is to describe the experiences with interactive instructional technology from the perspective of college students at a large Midwestern university. A combination of cognitive load theory, communications strategy, and UX perspective is used to provide a structure that higher education faculty and administrators can use to approach content strategies, technological advances, and student perceptions throughout their college education. Focus groups with college students found communication is the number one priority when using interactive instructional technology. However, as more social media is adopted, the line between personal and professional lives is being blurred for better or worse. Technological advances introduce layers of separation between student and faculty, as well as student and course content, which all impact motivation. Students want faculty to be comfortable with the technology to build trust and confidence with their interactions. There will always be technology problems, but students now need to actively solve problems when technology isn’t working. The significance of this study informs educators of issues they could expect when teaching with technology and offer ideas to integrate it in appropriate ways. Students offer a number of suggestions and UX tools are provided to improve student experiences with interactive instructional technology.
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Author: Adam Wagler
Department: The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska