The impact of the digital divide on information literacy training of Extended Curriculum Programme students at the Durban University of Technology
MetadataShow full item record
This study investigated the impact of the digital divide on information literacy (IL) training of Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP) students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). There are students entering the tertiary education environment in South Africa who have never used the Internet or have little or no knowledge of technology. Hence South African higher education institutions have a heterogeneous mix of both digitally advantaged students and digitally disadvantaged students. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of the digital divide on IL training of ECP students at the DUT and to recommend guidelines for teaching and learning of IL that would accommodate both digitally advantaged and digitally disadvantaged students. The sub-objectives of the study were: to identify in what ways the digital divide impacts on the IL training of ECP students; to identify innovative teaching and learning methods to accommodate the diversity of students in the IL classroom; and to recommend guidelines for teaching and learning of IL in the ECP that accommodates the digital divide among participating students. Hence, the three population sets for the study were: DUT ECP students of 2010, Subject Librarians teaching IL to ECP students and the DUT ECP Coordinator. The study employed a mixed method approach in its research design. Data was collected from ECP students by means of a questionnaire, an interview schedule was used to collect data from Subject Librarians involved in teaching of the IL module to ECP students and lastly, a separate interview schedule was used to collect data from the ECP Coordinator. Qualitative data that was collected from the survey questionnaire was analysed using SPSS (Version 18.0) whilst qualitative data collected from the interviews and from the questionnaires was analysed thematically using content analysis. The findings of this study reveal that the digital divide does impact on IL training in ways such as, slowing down the progress of IL lessons; basic computer skills need to be taught in the IL classroom and that disadvantaged students find it difficult to follow online lessons while advantaged students already have the expertise to access online information. Based on these findings the study recommends that computer literacy training precede IL training; that various creative teaching and learning methods, such as, group work, games, online tutorials and interactive websites be incorporated into IL training to accommodate both digitally advantaged and digitally disadvantaged students in the IL classroom.