Mobile phone information access and interaction frameworks in education

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Models of evaluating e-readiness of a country

This section discusses three models that inform e-readiness evaluation. The models are The EIU eReadiness Model (EIU, 2003), The APEC e-Readiness Model (APEC, 2000) and The Convergence Measure for e-Readiness Assessment Model (Hanafizadeh, Hanafizadeh, & Khodabakhshi, 2009). The three models provide benchmarks for evaluating e-readiness in adopting and using ICTs for social and economic benefits of a country. The three e-readiness models were developed during different periods but seem to have some common dimensions for measuring e-readiness. All the models based their evaluation of e-readiness on telecommunications infrastructure development. The common dimensions for benchmarking infrastructure development were ICT technology penetration, affordability, quality of broadband, accessibility and the enabling environment. The models gave different names to the enabling environment dimension but suggested similar parameters for evaluating the e-readiness. The EIU (2003) e-Readiness model divided the environmental readiness dimension into business environment, social and cultural environment, and legal environment.

Models for evaluating the e-readiness of an institution

The consensus among the models for evaluating institutional e-readiness is that when introducing e-learning at an institution, all the stakeholders involved in the project have to be assessed for ereadiness (Borotis & Poulymenakou, 2004; Darab & Montazer, 2011; Haney, 2002; Machado, 2007). The stakeholders include administrative managers, academics, and students. Common dimensions among all the proposed models for evaluating the e-readiness of an institution are technological infrastructure, finance, human resources and course content (Borotis & Poulymenakou, 2004; Darab & Montazer, 2011; Haney, 2002; Machado, 2007). Technological infrastructure readiness assessment focuses on evaluating if existing infrastructure sustains the new intervention. If the existing infrastructure cannot provide or sustain the services of a new intervention, the institution is expected to provide the required infrastructure (Borotis & Poulymenakou, 2004; Darab & Montazer, 2011; Haney, 2002; Machado, 2007).

Mobile phone penetration

South Africa is amongst the leading countries in mobile cellular growth in Africa. As of the year 2015, 89% of its adult population owned a mobile phone up from 33% in the year 2002 (ITU, 2015; Poushter et al., 2015). The metric mobile phone subscription for South Africa surpassed 120% in the year 2012 (ITU, 2012) and reached 145% in the year 2014 (UNESCO, 2014b). Despite the 145% mobile phone subscriptions, Statistics South Africa reported that 4.1% of the households had none of their members with access to a landline telephone or a cell phone (Statistics South Africa, 2015). Provinces identified as having the least telecommunications penetration in South Africa were Northern Cape (NC) and Eastern Cape (EC). The gap in the provision of telecommunications infrastructure could be due to the lack of investment in backbone infrastructure and last mile or local loop infrastructure (Department of Communication, 2013). To address the issue of universal access in the country, the government is putting resources through the Universal Services and Access Fund (USAF) agency and Universal Services and Access Obligations (USAO) agency that will enable it to provide the required infrastructure to least developed areas (Department of Communication, 2013).

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Broadband policy

The South African government commits to provide broadband infrastructure to its citizens, social organisations and businesses through the South African National Broadband Policy of 2013 (Department of Communication, 2013). The South African National Broadband Policy is dubbed ‘South Africa Connect’. The aim of the South Africa Connect is to provide national broadband that meets the needs of its consumers. The policy references other national policies that include the National Development Plan of 2013. The policy is supported by government acts that include The Independent Communication Authority of South Africa Act of 2000, amended in 2014, The Electronic Communication Act of 2005, amended in 2014, The Telecommunication Act of 2000, and the Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000. In line with these policies, the government established institutions that operate under regulatory frameworks to champion the promotion of universal access and universal services. The institutions include the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA), and the strategic Integrated Project (SIP) 15: Expanding Access to Communication Technology.

Mobile phone devices

South Africa is experiencing an increase in smartphone ownership against a decrease in feature phone ownership. The exact smartphone penetration figures are not certain but some research organisations have provided estimates over different periods. GSMA estimated the smartphone penetration rate at 23% (GSMA, 2014), Huawei estimated that it is around 31% (Rawlins, 2015), and Pew Research Centre estimated that it is around 34% (Poushter et al., 2015). The smartphone penetration rate in South Africa is above that of the rest of the Sub Saharan African countries, which have an inclusive average penetration of 13% (GSMA, 2014). However, the estimated smartphone penetration in South Africa is lower than that of the developed countries, estimated at 60%, which ranges from 51% in Europe to 71% in North America (GSMA, 2015c). A factor attributed to the growth of smartphone penetration in South Africa is mobile phone broadband network coverage. As discussed in the previous section, South Africa has four mobile cellular phone network operators, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom Mobile, which have inclusive network coverage of over 90% of the country.

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Table of Contents :

  • Declarations
  • Acknowledgements
  • Abstract
  • List of peer reviewed publications from this study
  • List of figures
  • List of tables
  • Abbreviations
  • Chapter 1: Background and orientation of the study
    • 1.1 Introduction
    • 1.2 Research context
    • 1.3 Problem statement
    • 1.4 Research questions
    • 1.5 Research Aim
    • 1.6 Research Methodology
      • 1.6.1 Phase
      • 1.6.2 Phase
      • 1.6.3 Phase
      • 1.6.4 Phase
    • 1.7 Scope and context of the study
    • 1.8 Limitation
    • 1.9 Benefits and significance of the study
    • 1.10 Ethical considerations
    • 1.11 Chapter divisions
  • Chapter 2: Mobile phone information access and interaction literature
    • 2.1 Introduction
    • 2.2 Mobile technology readiness
      • 2.2.1 E-readiness models
      • 2.2.2 Overview of mobile phone readiness
      • 2.2.3 The South African mobile phone readiness
      • 2.2.4 Mobile phone readiness at South African educational institutions
      • 2.2.5 Summary of mobile technology readiness
    • 2.3 Mobile phone context of use
      • 2.3.1 Definition of context
      • 2.3.2 Context models
      • 2.3.3 Physical environment context
      • 2.3.4 User context
      • 2.3.5 Social context
      • 2.3.6 Summary of mobile phone context of use
    • 2.4 Mobile phone information needs
      • 2.4.1 Theory of needs
      • 2.4.2 Information access needs
      • 2.4.3 Mobile phone information needs
      • 2.4.4 Mobile phone interaction needs
      • 2.4.5 Mobile phone communication needs
      • 2.4.6. Mobile phone access to resources needs
      • 2.4.7 Summary of mobile phone information needs
    • 2.5 Mobile phone technologies
      • 2.5.1 Simple Message Service (SMS)
      • 2.5.2 Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD)
      • 2.5.3 Mobile Web
      • 2.5.4 E-books
      • 2.5.5 Podcasting
      • 2.5.6 Social media technologies
      • 2.5.7 Mobile applications
      • 2.5.8 Quick Response (QR) code
      • 2.5.9 Mobile cloud computing
    • 2.6 Mobile phone information access and interaction frameworks in education
      • 2.6.1 M-learning adaptation frameworks
      • 2.6.2 M-learning classification frameworks
      • 2.6.3 M-learning evaluation framework
      • 2.6.4 Framework for designing m-learning activities
    • 2.7 Mobile phone constraints
      • 2.7.1 Usability constraints
      • 2.7.2 Network constraints
      • 2.7.3 Cost constraints
      • 2.7.4 Awareness constraints
      • 2.7.5 Cognitive overload constraints
      • 2.7.6 The use of language in socialised learning
      • 2.7.7 Summary of mobile phone constraints
    • 2.8 Summary of literature analysis and the conceptual framework
      • 2.8.1 Readiness
      • 2.8.2 Needs
      • 2.8.3 Context of use
      • 2.8.4 Mobile phone resources
      • 2.8.5 Constraints
    • 2.9 Chapter summary
  • Chapter 3: Research design and methodology
    • 3.1 Introduction
    • 3.2 Research design
    • 3.3 Research philosophy
    • 3.4 Research approach
    • 3.5 Research strategy
    • 3.5.1 The case study
    • 3.5.2 Units of analysis
    • 3.5.3 Mixed method data collection design
    • 3.6 Data collection
  • Chapter 4: Data analysis results (Part 1: Policy analysis, Tool observation and Student surveys)
  • Chapter 5: Data analysis results (Part 2: Lecturer interviews)
  • Chapter 6: Discussion
  • Chapter 7: Conclusion

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A FRAMEWORK FOR PROVIDING MOBILE CENTRIC SERVICES TO STUDENTS AT HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS: THE CASE OF OPEN DISTANCE LEARNING

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