Evaluating and measuring how new technologies and ubiquitous connectivity affect university students’ day‐to‐day life, their learning and consequent psychosocial well‐being
Start date: 3 May 2017
Place of Publication: Leicester
Objectives: Universities tend to focus on the benefits of technology‐enhanced learning, while under-estimating the actual impact they have on learners’ experiences and well‐being. The goal of this research is to investigate how new technologies and ubiquitous connectivity affect students’ day-to‐day life, their learning and consequent psychosocial well‐being. Design: A mixed methods approach was taken to allow qualitative data (stage 1) to inform the development of a quantitative measure (stage 2). Methods: Stage 1 involved 88 students at one University (72 on‐campus and 16 online students) taking part in semi‐structured interviews and focus groups; constructivist grounded theory was undertaken to analyse data. Stage 2 involved piloting and then completion of an online questionnaire with three samples (n=60, n=72, n=ongoing) of students on various courses, levels and ages at two Universities. Results: The main theoretical concepts emerging from the grounded theory were that students used ubiquitous connectivity to enhance their well‐being by satisfying four basics psychological desires and needs: ease, freedom, engagement and security. However, students’ well‐being seems negatively affected by their struggles in coping with the ubiquitous availability of resources, in terms of: managing information, managing communication and managing expectations. Based on these findings, a questionnaire was developed to measure student well‐being when using e‐learning and traditional learning techniques and the findings will be presented. Conclusions: From stage 1 the emergent theory was used to generate a model of students’ psychosocial well‐being and the well‐being factors described in the model were used to develop a quantitative measure. From stage 2 results, we make suggestions on how the potential of ubiquitous connectivity can be channeled to provide practical, motivational and emotional benefits to students, limiting stress and pursuing educational goals.