Student Computing Survey 2012-2013: Graduate Results

Below are selected results from the annual Student Computing Survey for graduate students, conducted during the months of April and May 2013. Click here for the Undergraduate Survey Results or visit the list of past survey results.


During the survey period, 1188 graduate students responded to the survey, with more men responding to the survey (56%) than women (43%). The breakdown by degree program was as follows:

  • 57% PhD/EdD
  • 30% Masters
  • 7% JD
  • 5% MD
  • 2% MBA

Some respondents were participants in more than one degree program.

Forty-two percent of graduate respondents were in the School of Engineering, 26% in Humanities and Sciences, 12% in Medicine, 9% in Law, 5% in Education, 5% in Business, and 4% in Earth Sciences.

About Your Personal Computing

We asked graduate students about their device ownership and usage patterns. Of those respondents who own electronic devices: 

  • 99% had a laptop or netbook
  • 81% had a smartphone
  • 55% had a portable hard drive
  • 43% had a personal printer
  • 39% had a tablet computer
Device Ownership

Device ownership percentages


The computer operating systems used most often on students' primary laptop or netbook were:

  • 50% Mac OS
  • 44% Windows
  • 6% Unix or Linux
Computer Operating Systems

Percentages of computer operating systems

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About Your Residential Computing Consultants (RCC)

Resident Computer Consultants (RCCs) are students who live in each residence or residential complex and serve as house staff members. They are local network managers who support residential network connections, educators who run residential programs related to computing, consultants who help residents with computer problems, and technicians who take care of the residence technology spaces. RCCs are managed by the RCC Manager (and the Resident Fellows where applicable) and receive support and training from the Academic Computing Services central staff. RCCs are the first line of technical support for residential students and are an integral part of life in the residences. For more information about RCCs, see

Thirty-four percent of graudate students living on campus indicated they had asked their RCC for computer-related help or advice one or more times. The following were the top four request categories:

  • 72% wireless network
  • 19% wired network
  • 6% other questions
  • 6% personal printer
Top Four RCC Request Categories

Top four RCC request categories

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Residence Learning Spaces

Academic Computing Services supports a technology-enhanced study space in every graduate residence complex, offering roughly 360 public computers in more than 80 locations.

Fifty-nine percent of graduate students said it was 'Important' or 'Very important' to have study space within or near their residence equipped with technology such as computers, printers, and shared displays for laptops.

Forty-six percent of students said they had used a residence learning space (usually called a 'computer cluster') in the current academic year. Of those students, 78% reported that their cluster 'Almost always' or 'Usually' meets their needs.

The top five most significant reasons for using the graduate residence learning spaces reported were:

  • 72% printing
  • 64% scanning
  • 62% availability of software not on own computer
  • 54% study space away from room
  • 50% availability of group/partner work space
Top Five Reasons for Using Residence Learning Spaces

Top five reasons respondents use residence learning spaces

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Public Computing Spaces

Academic Computing Services provides central public technology spaces, general-purpose and specialized computers, equipment for checkout (e.g., laptops, video cameras) and study space in Meyer Library, Green Library, other branch libraries, Tresidder, Old Union, and the community centers. In-person technical support, multimedia consulting, and customer service is provided at the Meyer Tech Desk.

Fifty-three percent of graduate students who responded to the survey indicated they had used one of these spaces during the current academic year. Students were asked how often they used specific public computing or study locations. Students said they used the following spaces regularly (at least once a month) or often (more than once a week), in descending order:

  1. Any library other than Meyer or Green (41%)
  2. Green Library (other study or computer spaces) (36%)
  3. Meyer Lobby (1st floor) (30%)
  4. Meyer 2nd floor study/computing space (25%)
  5. Meyer 24-hour Study Room (1st floor) (20%)

The most significant reasons students used public computing or study spaces supported by ACS are, in order:

  1. Study space away from residence (67%)
  2. Availability of software not on own computer (54%)
  3. Availability of group/partner work space (53%)
  4. Scanning (49%)
  5. Black and white printing (46%)

The second floor of Meyer also houses the Multimedia Studio. Students who used the Multimedia Studio did so for a variety of purposes. The top five reported uses were:

  • 29% image scanning
  • 26% text document scanning
  • 17% video editing
  • 10% still image editing
  • 9% audio editing
Top Five Uses of the Multimedia Studio

Top five uses of Multimedia Studio

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Computing in Your Courses

Graduate students were asked about their use of course management systems. The majority who used a CMS used CourseWork.

  • 91% CourseWork
  • 43% Piazza
  • 13% Coursera
  • 12% CCnet 
  • 11% Blackboard
Course Management System Use

Course management system use

Students were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their use of CourseWork. Sixty-nine percent of students rated their experiences as 'Very satisfied' (19%) or 'Somewhat satisfied' (50%).

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This concludes the selected results from the 2011-2012 Student Computing Survey for graduate students. Click here for Undergraduate Survey Results or visit the Survey Results Archives.