Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Van Hoeven

Second Advisor

Dr. Gilchrist

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Gershon

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Online networks in university campuses are expected to enhance the learning process, an argument founded on the theories of Cognitive Apprenticeship, Situated Cognition, and Social Constructivism. However, the extent to which students use these networks should be a significant predictor of such benefits.

This study investigated the patterns of use of online networks in universities with a survey administered to 299 students enrolled in a random sample of undergraduate classes at Western Michigan University during the summer semester of 1998.

The findings show extensive use of email and the World Wide Web for activities that arguably benefit their education. Other online applications such as IRC, newsgroups, bulletin boards, and listservs were used by approximately 25% of the respondents. However, gender and computer proficiency were significantly related to the levels of online network usage.