MEDIA LITERACY AND SUCCESS OF STUDENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
University of Applied Science Amsterdam (NETHERLANDS)
My paper will explicate the main objectives of my PhD research. The goal of this research project is to find out to what extent media literacy has a beneficial effect on the success of first year students in higher education. To be more specific, first year students at year at the University of Applied Science (UASA), at the department of Media, Information and Communication (MIC) (approximately 960 students). To determine if that is indeed the case, it is necessary to break this question down into several parts which can be examined and measured separately. The first step is to define the definition of media literacy and identify which aspects of media literacy play a key role in a student’s first year at the UASA. My hypothesis is that media literacy should help to prevent students from dropping out of school at an early stage. The second step is to develop means of measuring these media literacy skills. This will be the major part of my research.
In these first two steps I base myself on various researches in media literacy and information problem solving IPS (Brand-Gruwel, 2009; Hobbs, 1998; Lazonder & Rouet, 2008; Potter, 2008; Rosenbaum, 2008; Steyaert, 2000; Walraven, Brand-Gruwel, & Boshuizen, 2010; Wopereis, Brand-Gruwel, & Vermetten, 2008)
The third step involves the actual measurement of those skills in order to establish an overview of how the skills are distributed within the student population in general as well in respect to each student individually. This will be done using a questionnaire which the students will fill out themselves. Furthermore they’ll get IPS instructions during research classes. For these classes they have to use a process worksheet which, on the one hand will function as an aid for their learning experience, and on the other hand will give us information on their media literacy/IPS skills.
The forth step is to provide insight into the distribution of these skills and in relation to the students’ background variables. Besides age and sex, this includes the socioeconomic situation (Brown, 1998; Peter & Valkenburg, 2006), residence & living situation (Beekhoven, 2002, p. 13; Pascarella, Duby, & Iverson, 1983; Tinto, 1993), previous education (Dijsselbloem, 2008; SCP, 2006; Van Esch, 2007), ethnicity (SCP, 2006; Vogels, 2003), grade point average in secondary school (Beekhoven, 2002; CBS, 2009) and parents’ education (De Haan, 2004; Peter & Valkenburg, 2006)
Along with the measurement of the skills and the background variables, we will also determine which other variables could also influence a students’ progress in the first year. These too, will be measured, based on theories from previous research on the subject (Beekhoven, 2002; Braxton, Milem, & Sullivan, 2000; Pascarella et al., 1983; Spady, 1971).
Once all this has been established, the media literacy data will be compared with the success rate of students during their first year at the UASA.
The paper will include my theoretical model and will set out in detail the theoretical background for each of these steps mentioned and indicate how these issues will be dealt with in the upcoming research.