The introduction of innovative e-learning and teaching methods at universities of technologies necessitates the examining of students’ perceptions of these methods in the promotion of student success. In South Africa, the majority of first-year students are not exposed to technology-aided learning methodology during their high school career, especially those from disadvantaged demographics. The purpose of the study is to examine student perceptions regarding their experience of e-learning at a South African university of technology with specific reference to the success of first-year students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Using qualitative research methods through semi-structured interviews, the researchers discovered that first-year students from disadvantaged backgrounds are experiencing challenges in terms of access to resources such as computers, laptops and reliable internet connection. Furthermore, inadequate training on the use of online resources and unsatisfactory performance during online assessment were discovered and these are heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic. First-year students from disadvantaged backgrounds are exposed to a variety of barriers that have an adverse impact on their success. The study recommends that higher education institutes provide the necessary resources to facilitate seamless assimilation of first-year students into the new environment.