Student use of mobile devices in university lectures

Neil Roberts, Michael Rees


Mobile devices are increasingly used by students in university lectures. This has resulted in controversy and the banning of mobile devices in some lectures. Although there has been some research into how students use laptop computers in lectures, there has been little investigation into the wider use of mobile devices. This study was designed to investigate which mobile devices students use, what they use them for and the duration of each activity within 1 hour lectures. Students in six cross faculty core classes (n=74 students total) at Bond University responded to a survey asking them to document and comment on their mobile device use over the previous hour at the end of their lecture. A focus group of students who had not been surveyed was conducted to cross-validate the survey results. The key results were that 66% of students responding to the survey reported using a mobile device in the lecture. Of this group, 45% used a mobile phone and 38% a laptop. The most common activity was typing notes on a laptop, followed by accessing lecture slides. The vast majority of mobile device usage was on task and related to the lecture.

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