Date of Conferral







Patricia (Rikki) McGee


A substantial barrier to learning for adult college students over the age of 50 is technology literacy. These students may not have the digital skills required for college, which is a disadvantage for social, educational, and career development. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the learning supports and types of learning required for digital literacy development of undergraduate college students over 50 attending 4-year institutions. Data sources included interviews with 12 participants over the ages of 50 from six 4-year colleges. After the interviews were completed, six of the 12 students participated in two focus group sessions of three students each. Data analysis involved open coding to identify themes. Results indicated the primary need for support was the learning management system due to participants’ inexperience using technology for learning. Skill levels did not match the expectations of college administrators for students to rely on technology for every aspect of learning. When students had learning management system support, they could use the system to learn. Rather than rely on institutional services introduced during coursework, students took ownership of their learning through support from family, peers, and social media resources. Results may help higher education institutions provide better support for these learners to promote positive social change through equitable opportunities for all generations of college students.