Prof Elena Papanastasiou
Prof. Elena C. Papanastasiou, Dean at the University of Nicosia, has received her Ph.D. in Measurement and Quantitative Methods from Michigan State University and an Honors B.Sc. in Elementary and Kindergarten Education from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Papanastasiou has held academic positions at the University of Kansas, the University of Cyprus as well as the University of Nicosia. She currently serves as the General Assembly representative of Cyprus in the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), while in 2014 she was elected in the Standing Committee of the IEA. In 2018 she was awarded the status of Fellow of the Association of Educational Assessment-Europe, in which she also currently serves as a Council Member.
Among other measures taken to cease the spread of coronavirus pandemic, higher education institutions have been forced to switch their mode of assessing students’ learning (e.g., final exams) from face-to-face to online. However, not all students are equal in terms of the skills required to navigate computerized educational spaces optimally – and this is especially the case for people form older generations (e.g. in continuous education programs). This may have serious consequences on the validity of the scores of students in online assessments. For instance, computer self-efficacy, a judgment of one’s ability to complete a task with the use of a computer is an important predictor of the extent to which learners feel anxiety when engaging in technology-supported learning environments and may also be related to their academic self-efficacy and academic performance in such environments.
Our study, aims in investigating whether mature university students’ computer self-efficacy and computer anxiety levels have an impact on their academic outcomes in an e-learning environment (academic self-efficacy and academic performance). The findings that we present are based on online survey of a convenient sample of ~ seventy adults studying for a graduate degree in Special Education at a private University in Cyprus.
All students denoted that they had access to at least one desktop or laptop computer, with three or more years of experience in using the corresponding device. Lower computer self-efficacy predicted lower academic self-efficacy (r= .505, p < .001) and higher computer anxiety (r = -.432, p < .01), while higher computer anxiety predicted lower academic self-efficacy (r = -.423, p < .01).
Although being only tentative, our findings provide insights on how digital inequalities among university students may lead to achievement gaps, the latter being related more to students’ computer self-efficacy and anxiety, rather than to students’ actual academic merit.