Harnessing the Internet to Meet their Needs: Can Adapting to the Digital Age Help Close the Literacy Gap?
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Type of Work194 leaves
DepartmentUniversity of Baltimore. School of Information Arts and Technologies
ProgramDoctor of Science in Information and Interaction Design
RightsThis item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
Research was conducted with 10 low literate and 10 medium to high literate students at the University of Baltimore to understand how traditional literacy impacts search habits for new college freshman. Five low literate, non-student participants were included in the research as a control group for the two student populations. It was hypothesized that low literate students had learned adaptive search skills that were unique to their demographic (low literate, college-degree seeking). Participants completed three search tasks designed to mimic a low-level college science task on the Tobii t60 eye tracker at the University of Baltimore usability research lab. Results were analyzed for total number of searches, time spent on task, reading behaviors, and participant ratings for task difficulty, mental effort, and performance satisfaction. Low literate students were found to have search habits similar to the medium to high literate student group. Prior work on low literate search habits by researchers had shown that low literate users tended to have less evolved search habits than their medium to high literate peers. This study shows that degree-seeking students seem to have develop digital literacy skills independently of their traditional literacy skills.