This article considers the uses and non-uses of digital technology by international distance learners. It draws upon data from in-depth interviews with 60 learners from around the world following distance education degree courses provided by a large UK federal university. The article focuses firstly on learners descriptions of technology s role in the processes and practices of their studying. The article then goes on to consider how the process of studying with technology fitted with learners perceptions and understandings of distance learning and higher education in general - as well as temporal constraints of work and domestic commitments. The article concludes by considering how the ambivalences and contradictions that appear to characterise student (non)use of technology during their studies serve to reinforce, rather than overcome, a traditional didactic grammar of university education.