Dissertation Information for Diane Mizrachi
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: How Do They Manage It? An Exploratory Study of Undergraduate Students in their Personal Academic Information Ecologies
Abstract: Technological advances since the advent of the digital age have drastically altered the information behaviors of college students. Psychologists, cognitive scientists, and educators today are finding that students of the millennial generation have been impacted by their digital environments in ways that are changing their learning processes and establishing new profiles of cognitive skills. Students are developing their own methods of manipulating the information in their worlds in ways which seem to differ greatly from previous generations. During October and November 2009, forty-one undergraduates were interviewed in their on-campus residential rooms during which they provided a guided tour of their academic information environments, discussed their information organization and management behaviors, and illustrated their ideas in short free-write essays or sketches. From the data, this dissertation describes and analyzes the digital and physical contents of the students' academic information spaces, and focuses on how they apply these tools and objects to organize and manage their academic information within their environments thus formulating a dynamic academic information ecology. It was found that undergraduates display a broad diversity of behaviors that reach beyond the stereotypical lifestyles of this age group as presented in popular media. Behavioral tendencies show a hybridity of high-tech and traditional formats and tools, and not a blind rush towards the total embracement of the newest gadgets and applications. Students also show an understanding of the need to create strategies that help them lessen the ubiquitous distractions when trying to focus on their academic tasks. Personality and individual learning styles appear to exert the most influence on the formation of their information behaviors and management styles. It also appears that pressures of completing all their academic tasks within defined timelines and the spatial limitations of their environments can temporarily divert students away from their preferred behaviors. We are just at the cusp of understanding these new phenomena, and much more work still lies ahead. But by studying and understanding their academic information behaviors we can guide undergraduate students to finding their most effective personal styles while respecting their inherently unique differences. Findings from this study add a new perspective to the body of knowledge on how undergraduates think and interact within their digital environments.
MPACT Scores for Diane Mizrachi
Advisors and Advisees Graph
Students under Diane Mizrachi