An Investigation of University Students' Ownership, Usage, and Skill with Technology: Key Factors for Course Design


Students at a regional campus of a Midwestern university were surveyed using an online questionnaire to determine their ownership, skill, and use of technological devices. Four hundred ninety-three students responded to the survey. It was found that the survey sample mirrored the student population at the university. Students owned and used a wide variety of electronic devices. Eighty five percent of the students owned laptop computers, 62% digital phones, 60% desktop computers, and 52% gaming systems. Students used electronic devices an average of 6.03 hours per week on classroom activities and 3.93 hours per week surfing the Internet for pleasure. They perceived themselves as being very skilled at using email, surfing the web, and word processing. It was also found that there was a significant correlation between students’ ownership of and skill with educational technology and their experience with Blackboard. Technological barriers were found to have a negative impact on students’ experience with Blackboard. Those barriers also negatively impacted their technological use and skill. A simple linear regression model explains that students’ experience with Blackboard is enhanced by having greater skill with technology, but is diminished when confronted with technological barriers. Implications for course design are discussed.