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Getting it from the Web: why and how online resources are used by independent undergraduate learners

Kirkwood, Adrian (2008). Getting it from the Web: why and how online resources are used by independent undergraduate learners. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24(5) pp. 372–382.

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Undergraduate students access the Internet for a range of purposes, many unrelated to their studies. Increasingly, learners are using the Internet to find information and resources for coursework, whether or not this is promoted or endorsed by their teachers. This article reports an interview study that investigated why and how independent learners use Web-based resources, exploring not only the academic context of the courses studied, but also any relevant personal, domestic and employment-related circumstances. Factors were identified which enhanced or competed with study activities, acting as incentives or disincentives for learners. The findings suggest that it is not technologies per se, but a combination of various contextual factors that determine students’ use of Web resources for learning. Of the academic factors that emerged from the interviews, assessment requirements and pedagogic approach were particularly important.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 0266-4909
Extra Information: The definitive version is available at
Keywords: online learning; web-based resources; social context; pedagogy; assessment; information literacy
Academic Unit/School: Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI) > Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 10071
Depositing User: Adrian Kirkwood
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2008 06:13
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2017 12:15
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