The Pandemic's Impact on Underserved Students' Technology Access and Course Progress: A Case Study

The Pandemic's Impact on Underserved Students' Technology Access and Course Progress: A Case Study

Mary Lebens
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.292015
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The pandemic hindered students’ access to technology by exacerbating the digital divide, particularly for those from underserved populations, such as students of color and low-income students. This case study focuses on the unique experiences of information systems students drawn from a population of underserved students, one year after the pandemic’s onset. The study examines whether the students’ perceptions of their access to technology and progress in technology courses is consistent with early literature on the pandemic. Pedagogical suggestions are provided to help faculty mitigate the negative factors that students described as hurting their progress in technology courses. Contrary to the initial literature on the pandemic, the majority of students reported no difficulty accessing technology. Surprisingly, the slight majority of students felt the pandemic had no impact or a positive impact on their technology course progress. The broad implication for the field of technology education is that the digital divide is not necessarily deepening one year into the pandemic.
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The pandemic forced professors and students to pivot to a completely online model, despite the fact that not all students have equal access to the technology necessary to succeed in online courses. This review of the literature examines the impact of the pandemic on students’ access to technology and their progress in their technical courses, with a focus on students from underserved groups. Groups that are considered underserved by higher education include students of color, low-income students, and first-generation students (Ashcroft, et al., 2021; Bragg, 2013; Green, 2006). Previous research from early in the pandemic shows that the abrupt switch to online courses negatively impacted students’ access to technology and adversely affected their progress in technical courses.

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