H. Santos, J. Batista, R. Marques

University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
Objective and research question:
As the use of communication technologies (CT) between students and teachers is a major issue for higher education institutions [1], a study was carried out with the objective to know: which tasks and situations students and teachers use CT for; if the expectations about the use of CT are similar between students and teachers; and whether students and teachers perceive information and communication overload when using CT to communicate with each other. The main research question of this study was: "How can we characterize the use of CT in the communication between students and teachers in Higher Education?”.

Model of Analysis:
In order to materialize the study, a model of analysis was elaborated based on two essential concepts: the agent concept, in which the dimensions of the students and of the teachers were considered; and the concept of the CT, explored in the dimensions of the use, the expectation of use, and the perception of information and communication overload. This model was based on previous models and theories such as the Technology Acceptance Model [2], the Expectation Confirmation Model [3] and on literature on information and communication overload [4], that support the set of indicators of the analysis model.

A quantitative approach to data collection was adopted. Thus, based on the model of analysis, an original questionnaire was prepared with specific versions to teachers and to students. Although the model of analysis and the research instruments were conceptualized so that they could be used in any context of higher education, in this research they were applied to a case study at the University of Aveiro. The questionnaire was implemented online, was subject to pre-tests, and was used for data collection between March and May 2018. A total of 570 student responses (3.9% of the total) and 172 teacher responses (16.5% of the total) were validated.

The preliminary results show that collaborative technologies and email systems are the most used CT’s by students and teachers alike to communicate, especially if their availability is institutionally supported; both students and teachers have similar expectations about the use of CT’s; and that teachers acknowledge more frequently than students about their perception of information and communication overload.

[1] S. L. Comi, G. Argentin, M. Gui, F. Origo, and L. Pagani, “Is it the way they use it? Teachers, ICT and student achievement,” Econ. Educ. Rev., vol. 56, pp. 24–39, Feb. 2017.
[2] D. Kwok and S. Yang, “Evaluating the intention to use ICT collaborative tools in a social constructivist environment,” Int. J. Educ. Technol. High. Educ., vol. 14, no. 1, p. 32, Dec. 2017.
[3] A. Bhattacherjee, “Understanding Information Systems Continuance: An Expectation-Confirmation Model,” MIS Q., vol. 25, no. 3, p. 351, Sep. 2001.
[4] M. J. Eppler and J. Mengis, “The concept of information overload: A review of literature from organization science, accounting, marketing, MIS, and related disciplines,” Inf. Soc., vol. 20, no. 5, pp. 325–344, 2004.