I was very interested to read (via eFoundations) a note on the Ancient Geeks blog by Martin Poulter. He talks about what the students at the University of Bristol use the network for according to the University's network management folks.
Facebook is the most popular site by hits, accounting for 20% of requests. 85% of students are signed up for it and Martin notes that students regard it as their 'shared space', using it to 'organise ... their social lives'.
And he writes about email and IM:
Students regard email as a formal communication channel, for keeping in touch with “older people” such as tutors and parents. For communicating with each other, they use instant messaging. A very large proportion are signed up to MSN, and Skype is also used. [The Ancient Geeks What do students use the Internet for? ]
He also talks about some students having streaming radio on all day, and the use of Internet TV services and the Slingbox. As well as P2P applications like Skype, Joost and World of Warcraft.
And what services do they want from the university network?:
... students say they want video podcasts, or failing that audio, of their lecturers. They don’t want less personal contact with teaching staff, but they want to be able to catch up with lectures on a video iPod on the train. They also want ubiquity: they expect high quality access, wirelessly, everywhere. Having been brought up with Google and Amazon, they have very high standards of ease of use. [The Ancient Geeks What do students use the Internet for? ]
Is this typical of other campuses? Things are moving along ......