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Students’ Characteristics and their Perceptions and Attitudes toward SMS

Chapter 5: Results

5.3 Students’ Characteristics and their Perceptions and Attitudes toward SMS

experiences of using SMS. The previous sections have shown that most students had used SMS to exchange information. The reported age of the participants and the reported age of starting to use SMS indicated that most participants had at least five years of experience in using SMS. Students were familiar with the use of SMS. The findings suggest that

students’ familiarity with SMS made them perceive it as an easy-to-use and useful communication tool. Users are expected to perceive a technology as easier to use if they have direct experience in using it (Hackbarth, Grover & Mun, 2003). The students had positive feeling regarding the idea of using SMS as an educational tool and they had positive but low perceptions and attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool.

The findings suggested that the students would accept the use of SMS as an educational tool. The institutions of higher education should take advantage of such acceptance by using SMS to support teaching and learning. The next section discusses the relationship between some of the students’ characteristics and their perceptions and attitudes toward SMS.

5.3.1 Major and students’ perceptions of and attitudes toward SMS. Students’

responses to the SMS ease of use, usefulness and attitudes scales were compared, based on major through t-tests (Table 5.10).

Table 5.10

Results of t-tests and Descriptive Statistics SMS Ease of Use, Usefulness and Attitudes by Major

Outcome Group

Other Engineering

M SD n M SD n t df p r

Ease of use 4.19 2.28 16 5.58 .98 153 -4.57* 167 .00 .35

Usefulness 3.46 2.15 16 4.53 1.38 153 -2.77* 167 .006 .28

Attitudes 3.75 2.50 16 4.78 1.32 153 -2.69* 167 .008 .25

* p < .05

The results showed significant variations between engineering and non-engineering students in their perceptions of SMS ease of use, usefulness and attitudes. Engineering major students perceived SMS as easier to use than did non-engineering students. The engineering majors believed that SMS was a potentially more useful educational tool than did non-engineering students.

Overall, the engineering major students had more positive attitudes toward SMS than non-engineering students. These findings are aligned with Margaryan et al.’s )2011(

study, which found that that engineering students used more technology tools than non-engineering students. They suggested that this was because non-engineering courses required more concentrated and broad access to technology than non-engineering courses such as social work. Students with positive attitudes toward a technology tend to adopt such technology (TAM, 1986). The findings suggest that educational SMS would be more acceptable to engineering students than to other students.

5.3.2 Receiving SMS and perceptions and attitudes toward SMS. Students’

responses to the frequency of receiving SMS were grouped into four categories: frequently, often, rarely and never. A one-way ANOVA was used to compare students’ responses to

SMS ease of use, usefulness and attitudes scales differences based on their frequency of receiving SMS (Table 5.11).

Table 5.11

One-Way ANOVA- students’ responses to the SMS ease of use, usefulness and attitudes scales for frequency of receiving SMS as a communication tool

Outcome df F p 2

SMS Ease of Use and Usefulness as a communication tool

3 4.73 .003 .078

SMS Usefulness as an educational tool

3 2.91 .04 .05

Attitudes toward SMS as an educational tool

3 2.10 .10 .036

Note. 1 = ‘Frequently”, 2 = ‘Often”, 3 = ‘Rarely”, 4 = ‘Never’.

The results showed that students' perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as a communication tool, as well as their perceptions of its usefulness as an educational tool, differed based on their frequency of receiving SMS. But students' attitudes to SMS did not differ based on their frequency of receiving SMS. Post hoc pairwise comparison showed differences between the means of students’ responses to SMS ease of use and usefulness as a communication tool were found between three pairs of groups: the students who

frequently received SMS and the students who never received SMS, the students who often received SMS and the students who never received SMS, and the students who rarely received SMS and the students who never received SMS. Participants who frequently received SMS (M = 5.63, SD = 1.26) perceived SMS as easier to use and more useful as a communication tool compared to the students who never received SMS (M = 4.40, SD = 1.75; p< .05). Participants who often received SMS (M = 5.22, SD = 1.12) perceived SMS as easier to use and more useful as a communication tool than students who never received

SMS (M = 4.40, SD = 1.75; p< .05). Participants who rarely received SMS (M =5.27, SD

=.81) perceived SMS as easier to use and more useful as a communication tool than students who never received SMS (M = 4.40, SD = 1.75; p< .05).

Using the LSD test, the post hoc pairwise comparison showed that the only

significant difference between the means of students’ responses to the usefulness of SMS as an educational tool was found between the students who frequently received SMS and the students who never received SMS. Participants who frequently received SMS perceived SMS as more useful as an educational tool (M = 4.59, SD = 1.55), than the students who never received SMS (M = 3.58, SD = 1.60; p<.05).

The current study was designed for students receiving educational SMS rather than sending them. The results of ANOVA showed that only students' perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as an educational tool differed in relation to frequency of sending SMS (see Appendix N). The findings support the previous suggestions that students’

experiences of using SMS contributed to making them perceive it as an easy-to-use and useful communication tool. The results regarding the significant relationship between frequency of receiving SMS and perceptions of the use of SMS as an educational tool suggest that the participants who frequently received SMS would perceive it as an easy-to-use tool and would have positive perceptions of its easy-to-use as an educational tool compared to other participants who reported little experience with receiving SMS. Most of the

participants reported that they received SMS either frequently or often. Such use of SMS would positively influence students’ perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as a communication tool and as an educational tool.

In summary, students’ perceptions and attitudes toward SMS differed based on their majors. Engineering students had more positive perceptions and attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool than non-engineering students. Students’ perceptions of SMS differed based on their frequency of receiving SMS. Participants who frequently received SMS perceived it as an easy-to-use and useful communication tool and they had positive perceptions of its use as an educational tool compared to participants who reported little experience with receiving SMS. The findings suggest that the use of SMS as an educational tool would be more acceptable among engineering students than non-engineering students.

In addition, students’ experiences of receiving SMS were liuely to positively influence their

perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as a communication tool and as an

educational tool. In order to check the validity of the TAM in explaining the results of the study, the following section examines the relationships between students’ attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational and their perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness.

5.4. Relationships among Students’ Attitudes toward the Use of SMS and their