In a new article (soon to be published in an upcoming volume of Springer’s ‘Communications in Computer and Information Science’ series) Douglas Parry and Daniel le Roux, of the CTRG, consider the determinants of off-task media use in university lectures.
Daniel le Roux recently presented this paper at the 2018 annual conference of the South African Computer Lecturers Association, where it received the best paper award.
A strong body of evidence indicates that university students frequently engage in off-task media use (OTMU) during lectures. While the bulk of research in this area has considered the frequency, and impact of such behaviour through quantitative methods, little work concerning the subjective and contextual factors that determine OTMU in academic settings has been conducted. In this study we adopt a qualitative approach to consider the determinants of this behaviour. We collected data through a series of focus groups involving undergraduate students. Seven key factors that determine students’ OTMU in lectures are identified: OTMU policy, OTMU norms, Fear of missing out, Grit, Control over technology, Quality of lecture, and Visibility of peers’ OTMU. We propose a model which specifies the interrelationships between these factors and discuss, on this basis, how institutions and lecturers can navigate the challenges posed by OTMU in lectures.