Longitudinal study of computer usage in flexible engineering education

Stuart R. Palmer, Sharyn L. Bray

Abstract


A longitudinal analysis of computer usage by commencing students in Deakin University's undergraduate engineering and technology programs over the period 1998 to 2001 revealed that; access to computers was at high levels; mean computer usage for off campus students had not changed significantly, but had risen significantly for on campus students; while access to the Internet / WWW had not increased significantly, reported regular use of the Internet / WWW had risen significantly; while most students continued to report their source of Internet / WWW access as either home or university, the proportion reporting home as their source of access had risen significantly; and the reported regular use of email rose significantly. Other results are also presented.

These results imply that commencing engineering and technology students are well placed to adopt online delivery and support of teaching and learning. However, while it might now be reasonable to assume that all students have access to computers and the Internet, the experiences of on campus students in computer laboratories with broadband network access will be different from off campus students accessing the Internet via a dialup modem connection. A small proportion of commencing students were unaware of the computing facilities provided by the university; an orientation program covering computing facilities and services would benefit all commencing students.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.1798

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