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MEMO

TO: FROM: DATE: SUBJECT: Dr. Kelly Lacara Logan Franklin May 17, 2013 Executive Summary

Introduction In todays world, technology is advancing at an alarming rate. With the rapidly evolving technological climate, the field of higher education must find a way to keep up. Student affairs professionals must find ways to incorporate these new technologies into their professional practice. One area of technology that has been rapidly growing and receiving special attention is mobile technology. This technology has seen rapid advancement in a relatively short time. As students begin to adopt these technologies, it is important for student affairs professionals to be able reach students in this new medium. Students are increasingly using mobile technology to organize their lives. This increase should be met with a way for students to organize their academic and cocurricular lives in the same manner. This study sought to gather information about student mobile technology use and its effects, as well as student opinions about the universitys incorporation of mobile technology. The setting of this study was here at Missouri State University. Because of Missouri States mid-size and public nature, it served as a decent setting for a study of this type. The population being studied was the general student body. The sample

consisted of 37 students gathered at random in the student union. The data was collected through the use of a survey with the aim of gathering primary data from participants on subject such as: mobile technology use, use of university website, GPA, organizational involvement, etc. This survey sought to answer three research questions: (1) Is there a relationship between accessibility of university resources and a students use of those resources? (2) Is there a relationship between a students use of university resources and a students engagement? (3) Is there a relationship between a students smartphone usage and cumulative GPA? Summary of Findings The sample used in this study was 56.8% female and 43.2% male. This constitutes a fairly even split and is fairly consistent with the demographics of the student body. The sample was also made up of 67.6% Caucasian, 21.6% African American, 5.4% Asian, and 2.7% Hispanic. This demographic is more diverse than the general Missouri State population. The distribution of the sample by academic year was 27% freshman, 18.9% sophomore, 21.6% juniors, 24.3% seniors, and 8.1% graduate students. There was a relationship between accessibility of university resources and a students use of the resources. The results showed that as student opinion of the usability of the website on a mobile device went down, the frequency of access of the website on a mobile device went down. There was no relationship between a students use of university resources and a students engagement. This result stood out, because I had thought a relationship would emerge between these variables. Students reported varying levels of engagement across the spectrum of university website use. There was

not a relationship between student smartphone usage and cumulative GPA. The results showed that student who did own a smartphone used them frequently and reported varying GPAs. Problems and Limitations The first challenge was finding a focus for the research questions. The topic of mobile technology use in students is a broad one, and finding a way to narrow it down to a few research questions was difficult. The next challenge was gathering participants. I had intended on gathering about 50 participants, but ended up with only 37. There were a number of students who passed by would not fill out the survey because they did not own a mobile technology. They assumed because the survey was about mobile technology use that the survey did not apply to them. Because of the small sample size it is difficult to apply this survey to the overall study population of Missouri State students. Modifications Based on the overall experiences of the study, I would make a few modifications before trying a similar one. First, to strengthen the results of my second research question, I would like to include survey questions that determine what services were utilized on the university website and exclude from the tabulation those who use it simply to check e-mail. This could have the potential to see a relationship emerge in this area. I would also like to work in the future with the Office of Web and New Media to do this survey again, but on a wider scale to look into making the university more mobile-friendly. With their help, I could disseminate the survey to all current students, via e-mail and get a respectable sample size to try to gather information.

Recommendations Based on the data, I would recommend that the university develop a mobile version of the university website. As it currently stands, the website is no different on a mobile device than it is on a computer. This means that the pages are large and hard to navigate on a mobile device. My data showed that students visit the website more on mobile devices when it is easy to use. In addition, the university needs to find other ways to reach students on mobile devices. Of my 37 participants, on 10 did not own a smartphone, and of them only 4 did not own some other type of mobile technology. The students who owned a mobile device reported high levels of use, meaning that this is a platform that needs to be utilized to reach our students. Implications for Future Research Based on my results and previous research on the topic, I would recommend a study be done to look at trends emerging in this field. Perhaps, a multi-year study to note the increases and decreases in different areas as student populations change. Any increase noted in mobile technology usage would be important to take into consideration within the field of higher education in the future.