ICT Self-Efficacy: Gender and Socioeconomic Influences Among First-Year Students

Jeffrey A. Stone

Abstract


Colleges and universities in the US have integrated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into almost all disciplines, curricula, and activities, hoping both to prepare students for future careers and to engage so-called “digital natives”. Despite the ubiquity of ICT and higher education’s integration of these technologies, studies show incoming students often fall short in their ICT skills. The purpose of this study is to extend prior research to explore the ICT exposure, use, and access factors that influence students’ ICT self-efficacy, and to identify any gender- or income-based group differences. Using a two-year sample of incoming first-year students at a public research university in the United States, the study shows significant relationships between ICT access, prior academic exposure, and Internet use on perceptions of ICT skills. The study also finds students are confident in many ICT skills, though student self-efficacy in their content creation skills was limited. While parental income was not found to be a significant factor, some gender differences in ICT self-efficacy continue to exist. The findings, along with movement in higher education towards distributed and electronic learning, suggest that it is important for universities to emphasize and integrate digital content creation into courses and curricula.


Keywords


technology; computing; gender; socioeconomics; self-efficacy

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