Information Systems Education Journal

Volume 22

V22 N1 Pages 41-52

Mar 2024

A Pragmatic Approach to Investigating the Digital Existence of Food Bank Users

Yaprak Dalat Ward
Fort Hays State University
Hays, KS USA

James Ward
Fort Hays State University
Hays, KS USA

Li-Jen Lester
Sam Houston State University
Hunstville, TX USA

Abstract: This study investigated the digital existence of the food bank users in a university town in Texas; and subsequently, in alignment with the pragmatic focus of the research, a training model, tailored for the food bank users, was designed. Two research questions guided the study: What are the digital existence levels of the food bank users?; and what training model would best serve these food bank users? Data were collected by means of a survey from 230 individual food bank users representing their households. Additional data included observations and conversations with food bank staff, and documents and materials from the site which provided deeper insights. The study found that the food bank users 1) had little to no broadband connectivity; 2) possessed limited digital devices which revealed significant barriers to their digital existence; and 3) conveyed feelings of desperation, vulnerability and of isolation. Regarding training offered at no cost, the food bank users did not show much interest, which was attributed to the food bank users’ insufficient digital knowledge. The three-level training model was designed with the following objectives: 1) Prepare participants for training; 2) introduce the concept of digital; and 3) teach basic computing and cybersecurity skills. To implement this training, an interactive learner-centric model was created demonstrating collaboration among university instructors, volunteer students and the food bank staff. The study concluded that technological progress should not exacerbate existing disparities but should instead strive for inclusivity and equality for all individuals.

Download this article: ISEDJ - V22 N1 Page 41.pdf

Recommended Citation: Dalat Ward, Y., Ward, J., Lester, L., (2024). A Pragmatic Approach to Investigating the Digital Existence of Food Bank Users. Information Systems Education Journal 22(1) pp 41-52.