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Educating in the digital age

US College Student Smartphone Users, 2010-2016
Millions of college mobile phone users

  • 2010 8.14 47%
  • 2011 10.61 61.2%
  • 2012 11.6 67%
  • 2013 12.77 73%
  • 2014 14.07 78.8%
  • 2015 15.63 85.6%
  • 2016 17 91.4%


By the time the class of 2016 graduates, close to 90% of college students in the US will own a smartphone. Does that statistic surprise you? If so, it shouldn't. Today's students are digital natives who expect to live, work, and learn in a digital environment. As educators, it is imperative that we investigate, explore, and implement the tools and approaches that best provide students with rich learning experiences and positive learning outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the goal of Next.IU to pick a successor to Oncourse?

IU introduced Oncourse CL in 2005, and made it the default learning management system (LMS) in 2007. While new features and functionality have been added to Oncourse, the broader learning technologies landscape has also changed considerably during this timeframe. One goal of the Next.IU initiative is to assess whether another LMS might better meet the current and anticipated future needs of our faculty, staff, and students. We expect to make a decision on the LMS in early 2014. Regardless of the outcome, Oncourse will continue to be available to the IU community until at least the fall 2016 semester.

Will the university continue to update and maintain Oncourse?

Yes. We have very broad faculty adoption and use of Oncourse as a baseline system. The university will continue to make incremental enhancements and improvements to Oncourse at least until the fall 2016 semester. The most recent major upgrade of Oncourse took place in May 2013, with significant enhancements to the application. Improvements included a more modern look for the Oncourse banner, menu bar, and other standard elements in the user interface. For more information on these updates, visit the IU Knowledge Base.

What is CourseNetworking, and why is it showing up in my Oncourse site?

CourseNetworking (theCN) is an academic social networking service that connects instructors and students from campuses throughout the world based on shared interests and class subjects. The integration with Oncourse provides a direct link for IU students to engage with the global community. The Oncourse Priorities Committee voted to include theCN as a default tool in all course sites (use at the course level is controlled by the instructor). For an in-depth overview, visit the IU Knowledge Base.

Can faculty suggest systems and tools for the pilots?

Currently, the Next.IU initiative is focusing on three major LMS: Canvas, Blackboard, and Desire2Learn. Future explorations will most likely focus on additional tools to complement the core LMS, as well as tools that make sense for the university community as a whole. We welcome your suggestions for tools that fit one or both of these criteria. If you’d like to make a suggestion for the pilot, please contact us.

Can faculty participate in multiple pilots?

Yes. Faculty members can opt-in to new pilots each semester.

How will IU evaluate the systems and tools?

This process will actively seek in-depth feedback and insight from faculty and students. In addition, functional and technical evaluation will also be conducted. There may be reasons why certain platforms and tools are not sustainable for IU. We will distribute evaluation reports at the conclusion of each pilot.

What is the Learning Technologies Steering Committee's role in pilot evaluations?

At the conclusion of each pilot, the Learning Technologies Steering Committee will review evaluation data and make a recommendation on its implementation as a production service at Indiana University. The committee will also conduct policy reviews (e.g., FERPA), and consider what additional work may be required to integrate the technology with other IU systems and services.

What types of learning systems and tools will participants use during the pilots?

The pilots may include both open source and vendor-provided products.

The pilots will test third party services. How will the university address security and FERPA issues?

Indiana University is committed to the protection and confidentiality of student educational records, adhering closely to the guidelines established by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The university is actively consulting with the University Information Policy and Security Offices to ensure the security of all data before systems go live.

How will you test the impact of new systems and tools for online education?

We are coordinating our efforts with the Office for Online Education to address these issues.

Will my department have to come up with funds to participate in the pilots?

No. Faculty members can opt-in at no cost.

Questions? Please contact us.