Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education

Department

Workforce Education and Development

First Advisor

Calvin, Jennifer

Abstract

TITLE: THE DIGITAL DIVIDE BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE FRESHMEN STUDENTS IN THE COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES IN KUWAIT Multiple studies, such as (Abdalhameid, 2002; Fraina, 1991; Okebukola & Woda, 1993) have indicated that the Digital Divide still exists in many countries, especially regarding use by men and women. However, the U.S. Department of Commerce (2002) indicated that in some developed countries, such as the United States, the digital divide has or is disappearing. Further, some studies (Cramer, 2007; Ringstaff & Kelley, 2002; Terenzini, Theophildes, & Lorang, 1984; Waxman, Lin, & Michko, 2003) have indicated that the Digital Divide can have an impact on learning outcomes. Although Kuwait is a developed country, little research has been done in Kuwait in order to determine whether the Digital Divide still exists and whether or not any Digital Divide that might exist has an impact on learning outcomes. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a Digital Divide between male and female freshmen students in the College of Health Sciences in Kuwait. In addition, the study examined how access to computers and the Internet affect male and female learning outcomes. The target population for this study was all the freshman students currently enrolled in the College of Health Sciences: a convenience sample comprised of 500 freshmen students attending single-sex programs in the College of Health Sciences in Kuwait during the 2008-2009 academic years. Two hundred fifty male and 250 female students volunteered from each single-sex program. The Digital Divide Questionnaire (DDQ) was developed by the researcher for this study, and used to gather the data. In order to address the research questions, Independent Sample t-tests were conducted using an alpha level of .05 for the difference of means between male and female students. Spearman's rho correlation and Chi-Square were used to test for significant relationships between the subscale variables and the independent variables. Findings of research question one indicated that the average time female students had access to computers at the college level was higher than male students (t= -7.216, df = 455.05, p < .05). In addition, the average time female students had access to computers and the Internet at CHS was higher than male students (t= -7.573, df = 441.95, p < .05). Findings of research question two indicated that there was a significant association between the learning outcomes at high school level and gender (Chi- Square= 44.687, df=3, p< .05). Another significant association was found between gender and learning outcomes of GPA at the college level (χ2 =23.2, p < .05). Findings of research question three indicated that a correlation (Spearman's rho = .116, P < 0.05) was found between college GPA and the average score of Internet access in college; this correlation was present for both male and female students. Moderate positive relationships (r = .545, P > 0.05) were found between students' attitudes toward computers, and access to computers and the Internet at the college level.

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