An e-readiness toolkit for novice students at the Tshwane University of Technology
Van Vuuren Marais, Dina Margaretha
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Education is pivotal in many facets of life and should specifically be restructured for interaction and use in the global ethos of the elevated technology of the 21st century. The 21st century workforce of South Africa (SA) does not have the expanded skill set (competencies) required to adapt, to innovate, and to function optimally according to 21st century requirements. Consequently, the technological revolution has a collective and an individual impact on students, as well as on Higher Education (HE). Ubiquitous technologies are futuristic tools which currently compel educators to assist 21st century students to prepare for the ever widening global marketplace. In the current context, South African students who enter HE, do not have adequate e-literacy skills to cope with the demands of their disciplines. One such example is the undergraduate students of the Department Office Management and Technology (OMT) of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). Undergraduate students grapple with a mismatch between expected and actual Information and Communication Technology (ICT) literacy competencies. The aim of this thesis is to model an e-readiness toolkit for undergraduate students in order to reduce the e-literacy skills gap school leavers experience when they enter a Higher Education Institution (HEI). For this reason the author decided to perform a randomised pre- (O1) and post-test (O2) control group experiment to determine how the independent variable, the e-readiness toolkit (intervention), influenced the dependent variable, the e-literacy skills of novice undergraduate students. In this way, crystallised results test the intellectual conundrum, measure if the research objectives are accomplished and confirm the H0 and HA research hypotheses of this study. This study makes use of a single bounded case study research design, with an explanatory concurrent equal status mixed method approach. Deductive and inductive reasoning structure the quantitative and qualitative methods in a parallel manner, although empirical findings are primary to the qualitative confirmatory analysis. The qualitative data set of open-ended questions and a focus group interview are analysed using Atlas.tiTM. Empirically, this thesis determines firstly, if there is a significant interaction effect between Control and Experimental groups; and secondly, if there is a significant interaction effect between Contact Centre Management (CCM) and Office Management and Technology (OMT) courses, and where the differences are. The qualitative systematic literature review informs the researcher’s knowledge gap on themes such as literacy, e-literacy skills, e-readiness curricula, digital divide disparities and the role HE plays in the development of human capital. In conclusion, I found that digital divide differences contributed to inadequate e-literacy skills in undergraduate OMT students at TUT. The e-readiness intervention was essential for undergraduates to minimise the e-literacy gap between high school and HE. Participants’ remarks indicated ample differences in e-literacy skills perceptions and tangible capabilities after the e-readiness intervention. In addition, empirical results of the two-group experiment indicate no statistical significant effect in Control groups, therefore the H01 hypothesis is accepted and HA1 rejected. Furthermore, experimental results indicate a significant effect in Experimental groups, thereby accepting the HA2 and rejecting the H02 hypotheses. This thesis hopes that the e-readiness toolkit will be utilised as supplementary e-literacy skills training material to advance undergraduate students, mainly because of fundamental digital and e-readiness divide differences prevailing in South Africa.
- Education