Keywords:computer-mediated communication, university students with commitments, higher education, students’ use of information and communication technologies
The proportion of higher education students who integrate learning with various life circumstances such as employment or raising children is increasing. This study aims to compare whether and what kinds of differences exist between the perceived use of synchronous and asynchronous computer-mediated communication tools among university students with children or in full-time employment and students without these commitments. The data were collected in a Finnish University by the means of an online questionnaire. The results indicate that students with multiple commitments were using more virtual learning environments and less instant messaging (IM) especially when communicating with their peers. The low level of IM might be an indication of not being able to or not wanting to create close ties with their peer students. The practical implication of the study is that pedagogical choices should support different kinds of learning strategies. Students with multiple commitments, and especially students with children, should be encouraged and assisted to create stronger ties with their peers, if they are willing to do so.
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