CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

College of Engineering and Computing

Advisor

Thomas McFarland

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

The federal government continues to monitor the cost of paper texts as an essential component of postsecondary education expenses. The Higher Education Act (HEA), which was initially passed in 1965, was created to buttress the educational resources of colleges and universities. Along with addressing the benefits of financial aid in postsecondary and higher education, the act referenced the projected financial burdens of paper texts. The last 2008 reauthorization suggested that colleges and universities develop plans to reduce the costs of college. Congress is currently working to reauthorize the legislation. Based on this information, the problem identified in this study explored how to use the results of the study to develop a framework that may be used by universities. This framework could be used to consider the success (or failure) of the intention to use e-texts in student learning, given how the cost of textbooks contributes to the perceived high cost of college attendance. The primary goal of the study was to evaluate students’ perceptions of the usefulness of e-texts. The subordinate goal was to address the financial benefits of e-texts.

In this study, the author has explored the perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, and computer self-efficacy involved in the actual use of new technology such as textbooks in electronic format among undergraduate, postsecondary or university students. The main research questions for the study were: “How do the variables perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, and computer self-efficacy impact the intention to use, which may be a predictor of actual use of new technology?” and “How will the results of this study assist institutions of higher education in planning for the successful acceptance of new technologies, which may or may not be a predictor of actual use?”

The researcher used a Web-based survey and selected a sample of 5,600 undergraduate students from two universities. There were 482 complete responses to the survey. The context of the study included two traditional, land-based, universities.

This was an exploratory, quantitative, qualitative research study. The research study measured the level of impact of perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, and computer self-efficacy on the intention to use that may or may not lead to the actual use of new technology. The researcher investigated the topic and provided a framework for identifying factors that may lead to the intention to use new technology, which may determine the actual use of technology (i.e., technology acceptance). The higher levels of students’ perceived ease of use, and perceived usefulness of the e-texts, the more apt the student is to choose an e-text as opposed to a paper text. The lower costs of e-texts in comparison to paper texts would be a positive predictor of financial benefits for the students that choose to use e-texts. The financial gains in the purchasing of e-texts could lead to a positive impact on the total of college and education costs. The author also concluded that the market for recreational reading continues to grow for e-texts usage. Academic use of e-texts still represents a lesser portion of the market place.

This study contributed to the body of knowledge, profession, and overall literature in the field of study regarding intentions to use new technology, user acceptance research, and information systems. The results of the study have provided a framework for launching new technology within a postsecondary school environment.