Off-Task Media Use in Lectures: Towards a Theory of Determinants

  • Douglas A. ParryEmail author
  • Daniel B. le Roux
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 963)


A growing body of evidence indicates that university students frequently engage in off-task media use (OTMU) during lectures. While the bulk of research in this area has considered the frequency and impact of such behaviour, little work concerning the subjective and contextual factors that determine OTMU in academic settings has been conducted. In this study we adopt a qualitative approach to consider the determinants of this behaviour. Seven key factors that determine students’ OTMU in lectures are identified: OTMU policy, OTMU norms, Fear of missing out, Grit, Control over technology, Quality of lecture, and Visibility of peers’ OTMU. We propose a model which specifies the relationships between these factors and discuss how institutions and lecturers can navigate the challenges posed by OTMU in lectures.


Off-task media use Cyber-slacking Media multitasking 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information ScienceStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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