UNDERSTANDING THE TECHNOLOGY RECEPTIVITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS IN THE UAE CONTEXT
Ahmad, Syed Zamberi
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In contemporary society, the learning process is becoming a vital factor in business and socioeconomic growth. Education can play its role effectively if it is managed properly and is supported by technology. This study adopts the Technology Acceptance Model to investigate the acceptance and perception of technology usage amongst the local and expatriate students in the UAE context. The methodology used in this research is quantitative in nature. A survey study was conducted, which involved students from various faculties at one of the private university in United Arab Emirates. Purposive sampling technique was used to determine the sample size used for the study. Data were collected from a sample of students (n=236) who use blackboard system. A hypothesized model was developed through technology acceptance theory of Davis, from where hypotheses were postulated for the study. Regression and Structural equation modeling was used to ascertain the goodness of fit of the model of the study and to analyze all the hypotheses postulated therein. The findings follow the intuition that most of the factors studied affect students’ satisfaction and retention positively and significantly. Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU) comes out to be the strongest contributor of students’ satisfaction. The analysis also shows that the level of satisfaction among students significantly impacts their retention to Blackboard and PeopleSoft. It was noticed that nationality does not impact students’ satisfaction with this software. This paper emphasizes technology implementation and receptivity in higher education students. It makes tentative suggestions and recommendations on how policy makers might respond to current and future technology needs. Using the TAM model to predict satisfaction and retention rates within UAE education system, rather than using the regular quality factors, will contribute toward further understanding of how to build quality education. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there has been a great emphasis on utilizing e-learning to complement traditional methods of teaching in universities, but with very little empirical research that examines students’ attitudes toward the use of blackboard. This study provides an understanding of the technology receptivity in higher education students and can serve as a basis to encourage University management and its stakeholders for further improvement in this region.