R. Castillo-Mayén, E. Carolan

University College Dublin (IRELAND)
The application of new technologies to Education makes it essential to consider issues associated with the person-computer relationship. This is especially so when these technologies involve the use of the internet. According to recent empirical evidence, individuals’ psychological characteristics and technological experience are important factors that influence this relationship, and thus, in the educational context, potentially affect the learning process. In addition, those characteristics may also have some impact when students are asked to self-disclose. For that reason, the application of new technologies must take into account students’ diversity concerning, for instance, psychological characteristics and technological expertise. In this study, it is sought to explore some of these factors in order to test whether the application of new technologies can be improved, particularly in the Higher Education area.

Therefore, the principal aim of this study is to test whether specific psychological variables and the previous experience with technology impact online self-disclosure. University students voluntarily and anonymously participated in an online study. In line with current investigations, the variables selected were Internet self-efficacy, the Big Five personality factors, and the expression of the “real me” when online. Previous technological experience was defined by a) years using the internet, b) the frequency to what participants carry out different activities on the internet (e.g., browsing websites, social networks, forums, etc.), and c) the frequency to what they have experienced some intrusions to their privacy (e.g., unauthorised publication of personal information, personalized advertising, identity theft, etc.). This last aspect also included the possible impact of those intrusions on their online behaviour. Results showed the correlations among these variables as well as the influence of each one on participants’ online self-disclosure. Comparisons according to internet experience and gender group were also carried out. Conclusions gather main results and contrast them with the current application of new technologies in Higher Education.