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Verena Friedrich

Institute of Work Psychology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

ICT Use at the Student Workplace: Implications of two Recent Studies


At present, we find diverse activities that seek to promote the use of ICT in higher education. These activities frequently aim at behavioral changes, like, for example, the enhancement of students' self-directed and cooperative learning activities, or the flexible use of mobile computers independent from time and space. Taking a work psychological perspective I would like to address the question of how students actually use ICT in their everyday work. In particular, the results of two studies will be reported. We examined (a) the requirements for cooperation and self-direction in computer-supported learning as seen from the students' point of view and (b) work pattern flexibility of students who use notebooks in comparison to students who do not use notebooks. I conclude with the notion that it is misleading to conceive technology as independent variable which 'per se' has any impact or consequences. To achieve behavioral changes it is important to design the work system as a whole – the technology as well as the task and the organisational setup.


Verena Friedrich is a doctoral student at the Institute of Work Psychology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. She earned a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Constance (Germany) with a concentration in organizational psychology. Her current research interest is in the field of multisite evaluation and, in particular, the evaluation of program initiatives aiming at the introduction of new technologies into higher education. Additionally she is interested in the changes universities are facing due to the introduction of new technologies - both on the organizational and the work-place level.


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