Digital Distraction Outside the Classroom: An Empirical Study

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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Computer & Information Science, School of Business, Curriculum & Instruction, Mathematics


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the use of digital devices on students performance on assignments completed outside of the classroom across different academic disciplines. The investigators employed between subject design to examine the relationship between student performance on an assignment that was delivered in two different formats (paper or electronic) to 281 students in three different colleges within the same university (computing and engineering, mathematics, and education). The results revealed that the digital distractions significantly and negatively correlated with assignment score and thus, digital distraction corresponded with lower scores on the assignments. Furthermore, the study found that digital distractions were significantly and positively correlated with time required to complete the assignment (the longer the time students spent on phone applications and internet sites not related to the assignment, the more time they need to complete the assignment). Finally, the results of this study found that the digital distraction were significantly lower for students in a computing related major than for non-computing majors, indicating that digital distractions may not impact all students equally. This paper discusses the experimental setup, methodology, and findings of the research in detail.

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Publication Title

Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges