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Connecting Students & Educators at Educause 2019

Educators from all around the country are united by a single goal: to help their students. That’s why so many seek to improve their skills, learn about the latest in educational research, and see the latest technology through professional development events like Educause.

The only thing missing? The students themselves.

That’s why at this year’s Educause 2019 conference, McGraw-Hill decided to build their industry panel, not around our products and offerings, but rather to focus on students themselves. Recruiting from the local Chicago area, McGraw-Hill brought together a diverse panel of students to join “The Equity Equation: Student Perceptions and Expectations” session.

The students were joined by McGraw-Hill Chief Product and Operating Officer, Scott Virkler, to discuss their college expectations, real-life collegiate experiences, their concerns and stresses, and most importantly their goals for the future.

Key Takeaways from the Student Panel:

  • Technology Must Work

A key point of frustration for students centered around the ease of educational technology. Ease of use and having software that just works is critical. Students remarked that their schedules are 24/7 and need access to their materials on all devices; macs, phones, tablets. Things like downtime for software releases are a killer.

  • We Still Love Books

While technology was important, that doesn’t mean that students eschew textbooks. A few even prefer print, even if it costs more. Similarly, libraries are not dead! All the students on the panel raved about their school libraries.

  • Privacy vs Value

Privacy is important, but students reported that they are willing to give up some privacy for something of value back to them

  • Communication Methods

Many people today assume that texting is the way to go when you want to communicate with students. Not so say the majority of students on the panel. When asked about their preferred method of receiving notifications from their school, email was the unanimous choice.

  • The College Experience

When asked by a member of the audience if they felt a sense of inclusion at their institution, the students each reported that they do feel a sense of belonging and acceptance by their peers and faculty.

Along with the student discussions, audience members, primarily instructors, and administrators, were given the opportunity during the Q&A to ask students questions of their own. Giving educators the opportunity to connect to students directly during their professional development received rave reviews from participants and the conference alike. McGraw-Hill will be continuing our efforts to provide this type of opportunity by submitting additional student panel proposals throughout 2020.