Degree Date

12-2017

Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy

Academic Discipline

Community Psychology

First Advisor

Tiffeny Jimenez, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Brad Olson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Judah Viola, Ph.D

Abstract

The Digital Divide is the gulf between those that have access and use of technology and those that do not. The Digital Divide is a multilayered issue impacting low-income persons, low literacy persons, seniors, and persons with disabilities. The new emphasis is on whether people know how to use technological devices and the Internet for multiple purposes, especially to function and progress in daily society. This dissertation study focuses on technology readiness in preparation for higher education, specifically examining: 1) experiences students had prior to attending the HP3 program, 2) factors that influenced student preparedness for engaging in college-level technology based curriculum, and 3) current experiences within the HP3 program. The study used mixed-methods to explore 27 participants’ experiences using survey and interview data. Overall, the students in the program, despite low income status, were fairly high in Technology Readiness. Students were capable and experienced in using technology for personal reasons prior to attending college and were aware of the college and community technology supports available to them. Students were challenged by the need to use specific technological platforms within the college curriculum. Learning the specific technologies needed to succeed in completing the HP3 program, and accessing needed supports to do so, proved to be a challenge when considering the dynamics of community contexts in which students live. It is not surprising to find that, through a quantitative multiple regression analysis, results indicate that higher levels of Grit predicted successful GPAs among this sample. In addition, results related to current experiences of the program reveal that the HP3 program staff go above and beyond to support the learning needs of their students through adjusting program components throughout their experience. Future directions include research on empowerment related to technology.