In a survey, 932 Miami University students said on average, they spend half of their computer time doing academic work or other necessary tasks such as checking registration and bursar accounts.
The other half is spent on personal pursuits, such as e-mailing friends and family (9.4 hours/week or 21 percent of their total computer time) and surfing/browsing the Web (3.6 hours/week or 8 percent).
Of their 44.5 hours per week on a computer, seniors on average spent significantly more time on academic/administrative work (24.0 hours of an average of 41.6 hours/week) than first-year students (20.6 hours of an average of 45.6 hours/week). Survey results indicate that the average computer hours spent on personal activities declines by approximately 2.6 hours/week for each year that a student stays in school.
On-campus students spent significantly more time in general on the computer than off-campus students (46 vs. 39 hours/week), particularly in hours spent for personal use (24.4 vs. 16.9 hours/week).
The nonscientific survey, conducted in March 2003 by Miami's information technology services staff, repeated a survey from the previous year. The proportion of time spent was similar, except this year students spent twice as many hours per week (3.6) accessing myMiami, the university's web portal for faculty, staff and students.
Here are other reasons student kept at their keyboards, in hours per week:
3.39 - accessing/downloading music or movies
2.66 - checking news, weather, sports
2.52 - researching using the online library
2.37 - emailing faculty, fellow students and advisers
1.81 - using Blackboard for a course
1.56 - playing or downloading computer games
The IT services department performs the survey to assess trends and support student needs. More of the survey results can be found in the September issue of TechTalk available at www.muohio.edu/techtalk.