The digitally mediated study experiences of undergraduate students in South Africa
Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : The academic experiences of today’s undergraduate students have become increasingly digitally-mediated. The growing prevalence of ubiquitous information systems and pervasive media use in educational contexts has been shown to have the potential to produce detrimental effects for students’ learning and academic achievement. Media multitasking behaviour poses profound implications for cognition and academic functioning. The objective of this study is to explore undergraduate students’ new media usage patterns whilst in academic contexts. Three key aspects of these usage patterns are focused on: behavioural beliefs, behavioural triggers, and, the behaviour itself. Previously studies have focused on determining the prevalence of media multitasking behaviour, or, the implications of such behaviour. Little focus has been placed on studying students’ mediated experiences and beliefs. In this study a qualitative approach is adopted in order to gather the data necessary for furthering the understanding of students’ experiences and usage patterns. In this regard, a series of focus groups were conducted with undergraduate students at Stellenbosch University. Through a thematic analysis approach these focus groups provided a number of useful themes describing many aspects of students’ mediated study experiences, relating to their beliefs, behavioural triggers and behaviour. Synthesizing all of the themes, the principal contribution of this study to this area is the finding that students’ use of media is based on a reasoned evaluation of the impact of their media multitasking behaviour. This implies that contextual factors are primarily responsible for initiating use instances. In addition to this, this study identifies the existence of a ‘snowball’ effect, prompting unplanned, extended media engagement, prolonging use instances. Finally, a model describing students’ media multitasking behaviour in structured and self-regulated academic contexts is proposed.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Geen opsomming beskikbaar.