Modeling Computer Usage Intentions of Tertiary Students in a Developing Country through the Technology Acceptance Model

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This study aims to examine the computer usage intentions of Ghanaian Tertiary Students. The Technology Acceptance Model was adopted as the theoretical framework to ascertain whether it could help explain behavioral intentions of individuals to accept and use technology. Factor analysis was used to assess the construct validity of the initial research model and to uncover any additional factors influencing students' behavioral intentions. Multiple Linear Regression analysis was done to determine the extent to which dependent variables were predicted by independent variables. T-tests were used for test of significance.

This study reveals that the age and level/year of tertiary students as well as prior experience of computer usage have no significant influence on perceived usefulness of a computer. Experience however significantly influenced perceived ease of use whilst age and level/year of students did not. The study also indicates that both perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use had a significant effect on the attitude of students towards their computer usage. Interestingly, only perceived usefulness significantly influenced the students' intention to use the computer. Thus fundamental changes may have to be made to the Technology Acceptance Model if it is to be applied to a developing country such as Ghana.

This research was limited to one particular university. The study did not consider data on actual computer usage. Further research would have to consider these factors. The findings of this research and the model developed provide a basis for individuals who have to make a decision concerning computer usage of tertiary students in a developing country.

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Computer usage has increased in various tertiary institutions. Various computer types such as laptops, desktop computers, and palmtop computers are now available to tertiary students. Students can thus make use of Computer Based Tutorials (CBTs); store large volumes of books (e-books) quickly submit their assignments to their lecturers through the internet as well as download lecture notes from the internet.

Other tools available to students include instant messaging, emailing, search engines for research, web-based resources, access to library catalogues, and graduate degree programs online. Web-based learning technologies are increasing on college campuses as developers have created easy-to-use courseware applications such as E-campus (used by Regent University College Ghana) and KEWL(Used by the University of Ghana).

Two trends are evident with regards to educators identifying incentives for integrating computers in their teaching. These are student accomplishment, rather than educator external rewards; and the ability of students to use computers as a tool for their own purposes.

At an increasing number of universities, computers are gradually becoming a requirement for incoming students in preparation for their career success. Employers value extensive experience with Information Technology and are expecting their higher education graduates to be computer literate (RoIa, 2002). Previous researchers have shown that laptop computers in the classroom can lead to positive educational outcomes (Finn and Inman, 2004).

The focus of this study is on the computer usage intentions of students in tertiary institutions in Ghana. Modern trends require that students use the computer a lot in their studies. Very little is known about computer usage intentions of Ghanaian tertiary students. There is therefore the need for empirical research on the intentions of computer usage among tertiary students.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to investigate the behavioral intentions of computer usage among Ghanaian Tertiary students using a single institution as a case study. This may help to explain the key factors affecting the decision of students to use computers in their study. …