Title: Factors influencing student usage of an online learning community: the case of a rural South African university

Authors: Willie Tafadzwa Chinyamurindi; Bright Mahembe; Tendai Chimucheka; Ellen Rungani

Addresses: Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, Alice Campus, Alice South Africa ' Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, Alice Campus, Alice South Africa ' Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, Alice Campus, Alice South Africa ' Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, Alice Campus, Alice South Africa

Abstract: Technology adoption within higher education is becoming popular. This has often resulted in hubs of learning referred to as an online learning community. The success of such platforms is dependent on full system utilisation. The study draws on a quantitative empirical investigation into the factors that influence the adoption of an online learning community amongst 252 first year students at a rural university in South Africa. The results of the study show that a positive relationship exists between online course design and student ratings of perceived usefulness and perceived interaction (PI) concerning the utilisation and usage of an online learning community. Furthermore, the online learning community's interface design was found to be positively related to ratings of perceived ease of use but not with PI. Based on these findings, interventions are proposed, which have ramifications in working within online learning communities to benefit both the student and the lecturer.

Keywords: first-year students; online learning community; technology acceptance model; technology adoption.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEED.2017.086509

International Journal of Education Economics and Development, 2017 Vol.8 No.2/3, pp.116 - 132

Received: 12 Oct 2016
Accepted: 13 Apr 2017

Published online: 23 Aug 2017 *

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