Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense

7-21-2006

Graduate Advisor

Joseph L. Polman, Ph.D.

Committee

Matthew Kliethermes, Ph.D.

Sandy MacLean, Ed.D

Carole Murphy, Ed.D

Patricia Somers, Ph.D

Abstract

Both student activism and Internet use by students are among the fastest growing variables in national reports of student engagement (Astin, 2004; Levine & Cureton, 1998b). This study introduces the term estudentprotest to describe how contemporary student activists use information and communication technologies (ICTs) for protest. A sequential mixed methods design (Creswell, 2003) was utilized. This approach involved obtaining statistical information from a sample for descriptive and outcome analyses, using the results to suggest nodes for an investigation of social networks, and finally interviewing individuals to explore those results in more depth. This study found that today¿s student protests begin electronically well before the ¿real life¿ action takes place. The capabilities afforded by electronically-enhanced tactics allow students to rapidly and effectively plan, coordinate, mobilize, and execute actions. Perhaps most notably, the Internet and cell phones also allow students to extensively share tactics and assistance before, during, and after a significant action. Additional unique findings of this study concern the role of non-campus organizations in student protests, the use of email to strategize and supplement meetings, and student reliance on technological immediacy. Recommendations for student affairs administrators are also provided. Following Astin¿s (1999) call for administrators to educate students on democratic ideals; this study relates student activism and online capabilities to student engagement. Practical recommendations for administrators working with today¿s technologically-savvy students are also discussed.

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