Journalism students, Web 2.0 and the digital divide
Mary Elizabeth Green, The University of Southern Mississippi, United States
The University of Southern Mississippi . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to find out if students were utilizing Web 2.0 applications. Since the applications in question are often employed by the media industry, the study aspired to find out if students majoring in mass communication and journalism utilized the applications more often than other students. The “digital divide” is a term used to describe the difference in skill levels in using computer technology and the Internet. Some of the variables typically associated with the digital divide include gender, age, ethnicity, lack of a broadband connection and previous experience using the technology. This study looks at the variables associated with the digital divide to determine if they make a difference in the frequency of use of the Web 2.0 applications. Instead of finding out why students utilize the application, this study aspires to find out if students are utilizing the applications for academic and integrative purposes, which have a potential of enhancing one’s chances of upward social mobility. Do the factors associated with the digital divide make a difference in the use of the applications for academic and integrative purposes?
Overall, the study found that some of the Web 2.0 applications which include uploading photos, uploading videos, blogging, and creating web pages, were utilized more than creating podcasts, using wikis, social bookmarks and collaborative suites. Of the applications that were utilized more frequently, less than half of the users utilized them for academic and integrative purposes. Although a much higher percentage of the total users of wikis, social bookmarks, collaborative suites, and creating podcasts utilized the applications for integrative and academic purposes, the number of users overall was very low. The variables associated with the digital divide made some difference but not a significant one. Ethnicity was the only construct that made a significant difference in the frequency of uploading videos and blogging. Finally, the study found that mass communication and journalism students did utilize the applications more frequently than other students; however, the difference was not significant.
Green, M.E. Journalism students, Web 2.0 and the digital divide. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Southern Mississippi.
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