With the ever-growing myriad of course tools to use in your classroom, how will you ever choose what works best for you and your students — let alone learn how to master these new technologies yourself? While ease of use is important to student success, as soon as you have developed the skill set to take advantage of helpful tools yourself, you’ll be able to easily instruct and encourage your students to utilize them as well.

In a recent survey of participants in Cengage Learning’s Student Case Study program, we asked college students: What is most important to you in a course tool?  I.e. course tool = book, online tool, interactive digital text, etc. We then had them rank several options in order of importance. Here’s how each quality averaged out overall among all our respondents:

Course tool qualities

College students ranked ease of use of the tool as their number one priority when using a course tool. After this front runner came a gradual decline from assisting with getting a better grade, convenience, everything being all-in-one, anytime access, and price. Students revealed the least important factors to be flexibility of the tool as well as the level of interactivity.

Questions for instructors:

Do these results surprise you? We’ve heard it from the students’ perspective, but instructors and faculty may have an entirely different point of view on what is most important in a course tool both for their use and their students’ use. So we want to hear from you. What do you find most useful and valuable in a course tool? Share your thoughts below.