The relation of prior IT usage, IT skills and field of study: A multiple correspondence analysis of first-year students at a University of Technology.
Abstract: Starting from the question of whether the students in the different fields of study differ in terms of several variables related to IT and learning with IT, namely their general extent of IT usage, the extent of IT usage for learning, the IT skills of the students, their participation in online courses, if they learned coding basics at school and the extent of IT usage in class at school, a multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) was chosen to find answers. The MCA resulted in four clusters of fields of study. The inclusion of the variables in the biplot shows that for one dimension the IT skills of the students are crucial, and for the second dimension a further variable, the type of school added as supplementary points, explains the differences between subjects. Finally, the article discusses that these insights might change drastically - especially due to the changed conditions of first-year students with regard to their experiences with the use of IT in learning as a result of the school closures during COVID-19 pandemic. The data for this analysis come from the survey of first-year students at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in 2020 (N=955) which is subjected to a secondary analysis in this article.