Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Notebook computers, on many university campuses, have moved beyond being an educational accessory to being mandatory equipment for a college education. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe and gain an understanding of the sense students make of learning at a notebook university campus. In this phenomenological research study, two classrooms, both “wired” for technology, were observed for student and faculty use of notebook computer technologies. In addition, I visited several other courses across divisions on this notebook computer university campus.

Through the use of classroom observations, and student, faculty, and administrative interviews, I examined the impact of notebook computing on students in two classrooms. In one classroom the course content was how to use technology, and in the other classroom notebook computing knowledge was applied as students learned the content of their course. Students from these two classes were also observed as they attended the other courses on their semester schedules.

The results of this study indicated that (1) Students wholeheartedly endorsed the use of notebook computers for convenience, ease of communication, and completion of research, but in the classroom they were consistently off-task. (2) Because students were consistently off-task, they stated they did not develop strong connections with their professors which they themselves identified as essential to learning. (3) Students sometimes advocated removing notebook computers from their classrooms, restricting computer use to outside their classrooms.

Conditions of learning, as suggested by Reimer (1977), include good human relationships, and without that students may not care about content. In this study I examined the impact of technology on students’ perceptions of their intellectual curiosity and their life-long love of learning, traditional goals of liberal arts education.