Students’ Use of Smartphones at a Historically Disadvantaged University

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Sello Mokoena
Rembrandt Klopper
Sam Lubbe


As technology becomes cheaper the potential for learning is greater, preparing and disseminating learning material through smartphones is likely to become popular. However, it was not clear whether students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, have the right equipment (smartphones) to support learning at a historically disadvantaged university. This study assesses smartphone ownership as a potential tool for enhancing students’ learning at a relatively resource-poor higher education (HE) environment in rural KwaZulu-Natal. Correspondence universities, such as ‘Unisa’ and examples worldwide in HE, use students’ smartphones for educational purposes. Primary data were collected from postgraduates and undergraduate students using a self-administered structured questionnaire for all faculties. The unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) was employed to account for students’ perceived ease of use (EOU) and perceived usefulness (PU). The results revealed smartphone ownership and use was greater than the ownership and use of regular cellular phones. Regular cellular phone users commented on smartphone capabilities as enhancing learning.


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How to Cite
Mokoena, S., Klopper, R., & Lubbe, S. (2018). Students’ Use of Smartphones at a Historically Disadvantaged University. Alternation Journal, 25(1), 274-294. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Sello Mokoena, University of Zululand

Rembrandt Klopper, University of Zululand

Sam Lubbe, Milpark Education

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