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Just over 2% of University Wifi used on education, study finds

A recent study on students at a university in the UK has found that just more than two percent of the total internet activity through the university’s WiFi was used on education.

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“There was four times more social media activity, ten times more search activity and three times more shopping activity over the academic year [compared to education internet activity],” the authors said.

“A better balance between education activity and distraction activity” is needed for WiFi at universities, the team wrote.

The team studied the internet activity of 12,000 students and 1,000 staff at a university by observing their internet usage, tracking the domain of the websites they accessed.

Online activities were gathered from the University Network through an academic year from September 2018 to May 2019

Based on the domain, the team then categorised network activity as educational if the domain contained “edu,” search activity if domain is google.com, social media, shopping and so on.

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Overall, the network activity that consumed the most university WiFi was cloud and technology taking up 61 percent of online activity.

However, the activity was understood as devices backing up and storing information therefore were not interpreted as user behaviour.

Of the remaining 39 percent of activity, more than 20 percent of internet activity was consumed through search engines, such as Google and Bing, a bit more than eight percent consumed through social media and over 6 percent consumed through online shopping.

These three activities totalled up over 31 percent of the total online activity overall and made up around 80 percent of the 39 percent that reflected students’ online behaviour.

Other activities included streaming and gaming detected, though both activities consumed less than one percent of overall WiFi usage.

Online Activity Distraction or Education

The team analysed if students’ online activity served as a distraction or contribution to education by drawing correlations between online behaviour.

The team deemed social media and streaming activity–such as going on YouTube–was deemed to be a distraction with less than 0.1 correlation between social media and educational activity.

Some online shopping and searching activity, however, were deemed to be related to education.

Nonetheless the authors concluded that the overall “low level of activity in the education classification on a University WiFi was of concern.”

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The students also acknowledged that their internet usage was concerning.

Of the 834 responses from the 12,000 students majority of the students estimated that approximately 60 percent of their time on the internet was distracting.

“The present research suggests that Universities need to consider how WiFi is used and the extent to which providing ubiquitous access to the internet is beneficial to students,” the team wrote.

The authors also found that “the vast majority of the users’ behaviour on the University WiFi was interacting with websites controlled by three technology companies” of Google, Amazon, and Facebook.

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“Action is required to reduce distraction activity and increase educational activity by users of WiFi in Universities,” the team concluded.

Just More than 2 Percent of University Wifi Used On Education, Study Finds  The Epoch Times

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