Laptops still dominate among UC Davis students, yearly survey says

Here's a snapshot of computer use among UC Davis students in 2010: They vastly prefer laptops to desktops, Mac ownership has leveled off, and tablet PC and ultra-mobile PC/netbook devices are still rare.

So reports the annual survey of students by Computer Lab Management (CLM), a unit of Information and Educational Technology. CLM sent the questions to 2,000 students who used the campus computer rooms during winter quarter, and 195 responded.

The report, which presents the data without speculating on explanations, says the results "may be useful in determining what computer the 'average' student owns and what the campus should support." The surveys also show long-term patterns--for instance, Mac ownership, after dipping to the low single digits in 2002, registers only slightly higher now than it did in the first survey, in 1998.

This year's survey has 18 findings. They include:

  • 87 percent of the students own laptop computers and 9 percent own desktops (see chart with survey). The percentages are based on the student's main computer; 8 percent of the students own both laptops and desktops.
  • Tablet PC and ultra-mobile PC/netbook devices "are still quite rare, with a combined ownership of only 7 percent. The percentage does not seem to be increasing year to year."
  • Mac ownership, at 23 percent, stayed level with 2009.
  • Students use the computer rooms mostly for class-related reasons.
  • Among PC users, Windows Vista is the most commonly used operating system, at 39.5 percent. Windows XP is second with 16 percent, followed by Windows 7 at 12 percent. The use of Windows 7, the newest of the three, will grow as students buy new PCs.
  • About one-fifth of students (18.5 percent) have a class that meets in a com puter classroom. "This percentage of roughly 20 percent has stayed consistent since we first asked the question in 1998."
  • Printing remains one of the most important reasons students use the computer rooms.
  • Almost all students have broadband Internet access of some sort.

Read about last year's results in this TechNews article, and learn more about the campus computer rooms here.