Age, gender, ethnicity and the digital divide: University students’ use of web-based instruction

Yael Enoch, Zeev Soker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on the effects of social–structural factors (age, ethnicity and gender) on university students’ use of web-based instruction. The study uses data from registration questionnaires of students at the Open University of Israel. During the period between 1995 and 2002 there has been a continuous increase in the proportion of students who use the Internet and email for study purposes. However, a significant minority (one-third of the students) are still not Internet users. Previous studies have referred to the digital divide in terms of differences in access to the relevant hardware and explained it mainly by social and structural factors. Current research tends to focus on the digital divide in terms of use rather than access, and explains it mainly by micro, individual and situational characteristics. The present study shows that structural factors such as age, gender and ethnicity also play a significant role in the continuous existence of the usage gap. The social and educational implications of this gap are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Digital divide
  • Higher education
  • Israel
  • Structural factors
  • Usage gap
  • Web-based-instruction


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