Friday, June 13, 2008

Faculty Adoption of Course Management Systems

I am been working on motivations and barriers to higher education faculty adoption of online teaching--and found several gaps in the literature. However, I've decided to narrow my focus a little more to faculty adoption of course management systems. Below is my "working" rationale for the study.

Rationale for Study

Previous literature regarding faculty perceptions (i.e. motivations and barriers) to teaching online, have conceived of online teaching as a single innovation. However, as Hall and Hord note, some innovations, such as online teaching, are actually a bundle of innovations. Course Management Systems (CMS) provide an integrated approach to developing courses and teaching using web-based technologies. Furthermore, the integration of CMS in higher education has become an important issue recently (Eighth Annual EDUCAUSE Current Issues Survey, 2007); therefore it is essential to study faculty perceptions because faculty attitudes about the use of instructional technology influence its successful adoption and implementation. Due to scarcity of university resources, efforts should be made to focus resources on those elements that deliver the greatest return on investment (ROI) of instructor time and effort. The findings from this study can assist administrators in determining educational costs and value in terms of the effectiveness of the CMS in teaching and learning. In addition, the data can provide information on how institutions can reduce, minimize, or overcome perceived barriers to online teaching. Hoskins and van Hooff (2005) noted that as web-based approaches in education increase, systematic evaluation of course management software becomes essential. Even in cases where institutional support is high, two separate studies, conducted by Hutchins (2001) and Johnson and Howell (2005) found that faculty attitudes may be hard to change to meet the demands of the new dynamic, which indicated that a study of faculty attitudes should be a component of any research on the effectiveness of course management systems.

This study helps fill a gap in the Educational Technology literature concerning faculty attitudes and perceptions regarding CMS in higher education. In addition, the findings can assist faculty development personnel in developing appropriate training programs. Faculty training has been found to be an essential factor in the successful implementation of new technology in higher education (Butler & Sellbom, 2002; Bates, 2000).

Bates, A.W. (2000). Managing technological change: strategies for college and university leaders. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Butler, D.L. & Sellbom, M. (2002) Barriers to adopting technology for teaching and learning, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 25(2). Retrieved May 13, 2008, from

Hoskins, S. L. & Van Hooff, J. C. (2005). Motivation and ability: Which students use online learning and what influences does it have on their achievement? British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 177-192.

Hutchins, H. M. (2001). Enhancing the business communication course through WebCT. Business Communication Quarterly, 64, p. 87.

Johnson, G. M. & Howell, A. J. (2005). Attitude toward instructional technology following required versus optional WebCT usage. Journal of technology and Teacher Education, 13(4), p. 643-654.

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