Factors affecting students’ use of a data-free instant messenger for on-line peer tutoring: a large, undergraduate class at a historically disadvantaged university
Keywords:data-free, large classes, mobile instant messenger, online peer tutoring, Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology 2
There is a need for synchronous and inclusive online peer tutoring in large, undergraduate classes. As a lack of data or internet connectivity may limit online peer tutoring, the use of a data-free instant messenger was implemented for online tutoring in a class of 342 students. The Moya application allows students to chat and send voice notes to tutors and peers without using data. Sending attachments incurs data costs but the amount of data is displayed prior to downloading. The qualitative interpretivist case study used data collected from purposive sampling via an online survey. Consent was received from 252 third-year Information Systems students at a historically disadvantaged university. Qualitative data were analysed via thematic content analysis using the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology 2 model as a theoretical basis. Findings indicate that the majority of students (85.7%) did not use the data-free Moya instant messenger. Reasons for the low usage included a negative performance expectancy, as students did not see the benefit in using the application to engage with peers or tutors. Perceived effort expectancy was low, as students did not desire to learn to use a new application. Results showed that using WhatsApp was a habit. Moreover, social influence was a factor, as fellow students and tutors were also using WhatsApp. Students recommended increasing awareness of the Moya application and providing training. The price value was expected to be a significant factor as this application does not require data, but this was not the case. Facilitating conditions show that students had data for WhatsApp. Moya has the same interface design as the preferred WhatsApp so learning to use the application should require minimal effort. The unexpected findings indicate that students prefer WhatsApp, an instant messenger that requires data, over a data-free instant messenger. The findings leave lecturers questioning whether using WhatsApp for online peer tutoring is the more viable option.
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