Annotated Bibliography: Administrative Issues Related to Resistance to Use Technology Based/Online Tools by Faculty and Students

1.      Resistance to Use Technology

Annotated Bibliography on Typologies of Resistance to Use Technology by Faculty Members

 Mitchel, B & May, G , (2009) ‘Attitudes Affecting Online Learning Implementation in Higher Education Institutions’, Journal of Distance Education, VOL. 23, No. 1, 71-88

This paper identifies attitudes that relate to exploring the use of online learning implementation from a faculty perspective. This article highlights that in recent years, although institutional decision makers have accepted online learning as an important learning tool, faculty members who are responsible in implementing online methodologies have not embraced this to the same degree and shows that they have lagged behind. With a review of exiting literature, this study highlights four major typologies of attitude related variables that would cause resistance by faculty members to adopt online teaching. These four categories include intellectual reluctance, change based resistance, resistance to adopt due to lack of support within the institution and resistance due to cost vs. benefit. The study subjects these criteria to an empirical study and highlights the prominent typologies of resistance that affects the implementation of online learning.

This article is very useful for administrative processes for several reasons. It provides a good framework to measure different typologies of resistance indicated by faculty members in adopting online learning formats. For each resistance typology, a series of questions are listed so that the mean average of responses would highlight the degree of resistance shown. The validity of this tool has been established and this provides a good framework to be used for my study.

The measurement of criteria for resistance has been established through existing literature and also being subjected to an empirical validation through triangulation. The methodology used in this study is very sound and is identified as a key strength. The data analysis through triangulation for each resistance category has been further subjected to micro analysis explaining which attribute made the biggest impact on that variable giving the reader a good background analysis. The findings are also directed towards policy development which would in turn address the management of these resistance factors helping faculty to overcome some of the identified barriers.

The biggest drawback of this study is the macro, broad bush approach used to define online learning. The topic of online learning is such a broad category and different formats within this broad category would call for different types of measurement factors associated with resistance. For example the resistance factors related to implementation for a fully online learning environment vs. a mix mode method environment would be different. The use of online tools for face to face learning activities would bring in an altogether different dimension which has not been identified in this study.  The use of administrators as respondents in the sample has diluted the claim that is made to suggest that the said resistance factors are mainly attributed from faculty members.

2.      Implementation/Critical Issues Related to Usage

Annotated Bibliography on Blurring Boundaries in Supporting Students and Staff

 Quinsee, S. & Hurst, J. (2004). Blurring the Boundaries: Supporting Students and Staff within an Online Learning Environment. Proceedings of the European Distance and e-learning network (EDEN) Conference, 356-362

This paper explores the impact that online learning methodologies have on support structures within a higher education context. It uses City University in London as a case study and use different online learning models to identify how online learning tends to have an impact on each of these administrative support structures. It cites the changes to staff workload, change in administrative roles, impact to instructors, implications for training and development, impact on learning material development and organization have, as main points that are affected with the introduction of online learning methodologies.

This article was considered since it informs some important implications that online learning environments have on the university infrastructure. The earlier article highlighted resistance factors associated with faculty adoption of online methodologies and this article will further highlight background to some of this resistance factors. In the recommendations section of my study, I would like to highlight the implications of how resistance and usage intensity would inform theory and practice. While this study is still under progress, training and development would have a significant impact in facilitating usage and this article will provide a basis for this.

This study has acknowledged different formats of online learning environments in identifying their impact to support structures. This is a valid methodology since different online formats would have different implications. This article has strongly commented that administrators at the institutional levels heed to academic community enthusiasm on transformation of the pedagogical richness of online learning without considering their implications to its infrastructure. They cite this as a reason for causing resistance at the usage level. This perspective would help look at a system view in developing and implementing online learning methodologies where needs of all the parties that are involved in this process are addressed. The article also stresses that the full advantage that online environments bring for teaching and learning, mainly in terms of flexibility, could only be harnessed by considering all these dimensions.

Although this article highlights the impact of online learning environments placed on different supporting networks, it does not provide any suggestions how these could be addressed. Its main theme is that the boundaries specified in traditional learning environments are now been violated and these would have an impact of the institution. However, the lack of any clear suggestion to manage these challenges makes this article less pragmatic in terms of looking for solutions to manage these issues.

 Annotated Bibliography on Issues that Needs to be Considered in Designing Online Learning Communities

 Charalambos, V., Michalinos, Z., & Chamberlain, R. (2004). The design of online learning communities: Critical issues.  Educational Media International, 41, 135–143

This paper suggests practical guidelines in planning and implementing a successful online learning community. The suggestions highlighted in this article are based on the STAR (Supporting Teachers with Anywhere/Anytime Resources) program supported by the US department of education and these are all based on the experiences from this project. It highlights how the emerging technologies have made many activities possible that were considered not possible several years ago. It also highlights the changing complicated role between the teacher and the student in this kind of an environment. It clearly highlights that policy makers, educators and administrators should get out of the mentality that the online environment is not a substitute for face to face interaction and for the online environment to work effectively careful planning and implementation considerations should be in place.

This article was selected since it highlights a strong message that academics should consider in designing an online learning community and also it provides practical points to create a technology based learning environment. Resistance to use technology could mainly be attributed when academics are forced to replace teaching media to technology based media without understanding the different issues they may create when implementing learning strategies.  While many faculty members are open to the idea of trying new methods, pushing them to use technology without due consideration would naturally lead to failure. This article suggests a few valuable practical insights that could be used as strategies to overcome some of the identified resistance factors.

The suggestions made are all based on the experiences gained through the STAR project. The tried and tested nature of these suggestions would bring a sense of validity in considering these suggestions for implementation. Also the study has highlighted planning as well as implementation issues in creating an online learning environment and presents very practical step by step process in managing these activities.

The article fails to highlight the context associated with the project. Absence of background and the context in which this was implemented would make some of the suggested recommendations not compatible in different environments with different cultural backgrounds. Also the heavy emphasis on one best method of practice in planning and implementing may dilute the success of using these suggestions in different contexts where the underlying forces associated are different.

3.      Quality Improvement  

Annotated Bibliography on Managing Quality Improvement of E-learning

Ellis, R. A., Jarkey, N., Mahony, M. J., Peat, M., & Sheely, S. (2007). Managing quality improvement of eLearning in a large, campus-based university. Quality Assurance in Education, 15(1), 9-23.

 This paper discusses various characteristics that relate to managing an e-learning environment along with the traditional delivery formats in a large campus based university. The main premise of the article is to highlight a model that would help sustain basic quality parameters that a faculty to use and for the university at large to implement. It suggests that at the university level maintaining an e-learning environment creates more challenges since it needs to maintain a relationship with face to face teaching modalities at the faculty level. It mainly highlights some of the complexities and issues that relate to, in such a context.

This article was selected for review since management of quality in an e-learning environment is fundamental for any learning activity to gain and retain a reputation as well as provide some pedagogical value. While managing quality in a controlled environment as an experiment is always easy, the challenge would be to test how the program stands for its quality measures when implemented in a larger scale.

The main point that is highlighted in this article revolves around how quality should be incorporated in the design process as well as in the teaching process in a large university context. It starts with how this could be embedded into the course design at a faculty level and then highlights teaching at an institutional level. The suggestions are very useful in designing e-learning programs that are user focused. It highlights key areas (related to a case study) that institutions needs to consider in terms of structure where quality parameters should be considered. Highlighting specific key parameters to check quality would help manage quality in a complex environment.

While it empathize embedding quality into the design process, the suggestions presented are more bias towards connotations of quality control. Management of quality as a reactive strategy would be of little use in ensuring the delivery of a quality program. While it highlights the complexities associated in this process, the article does not specifically address issues that are unique to an e-learning context. The main focus seems to be the management of e-learning with its face to face environment assuming both these environments have similar issues. In reality they are quite different and needs different levels of attention.

4.      Ethical Issues

 Annotated Bibliography on Ethical Issues in Online Education

 Anderson, B., & Simpson, M. (2007). Ethical issues in online education. Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 22(2), 129-138

This article tends to amplify some of the ethical issues associated with online environments for both students as well as from an instructor’s point of view.   It investigates complex issues that lie in an online environment that has an impact on physical, cultural and linguistic boundaries. It highlights ethical considerations related to equity, diversity, surveillance, identity and confidentiality. Without attempting to resolve some of these issues, in turn it poses questions for the reader to further reflect on these issues.

This article is pertinent with its discussion on administrative processes since it addresses some valid questions that need to be considered in the design and administrating a programme. It is especially critical in addressing issues related to resistance in using technology as well as determining the intensity of its usage. While resistance to use technology could be cited as one important aspect that may deter usage of technology based resources, ethical violations could be seen as an even bigger reason as to why faculty and students may resist the usage.

This article raises important questions that would help explain usage in a significant manner. Questions such as “Can social, cultural and academic values be successfully transmitted in a computer mediated environment?”, “Are computer-mediated educational settings conducive to academic freedom or do they threaten to undermine it?” could lead to many other questions that deal with ethics in understanding usage intensity. This article has been insightful in raising a series of valid questions that leads to others. Not trying to provide direct answers to these questions in one way would allow readers from different backgrounds and contexts to ask these same questions and find solutions that are applicable to their setting. These questions are quite thought provoking and stimulating.

However, following an approach of not providing insights with some experience based scenarios at least would make this article less valuable for the reader who looks for some immediate solutions. While the article claims that the questions raised would be to stimulate further thought, the authors seem to be highly bias towards a particular view point. This would point the reader to the author’s view point ignoring the real issues.

 5.      Professional Development

 Annotated Bibliography on Using Professional Development to Support Teaching Online.

 Hinson, J. M., & LaPrairie, K. N. (2005). Learning to teach online: Promoting success through professional development. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 29, 483-493

This study examines how different types of professional development activities, support procedures and even organizational forms and structures would facilitate faculty members to make transitions from face to face situations to more web/technology based environments. The study finds that faculty members are more open to change when sustained professional development initiatives are implemented than one off sessions. The article also emphasizes and ascertains that faculty members tend to embrace innovation when supported by peers within their own network rather than endorsed by professionals. The findings from students tend to suggest that including more web based content into course work would help them to carry out learning activities in a more proactive manner than using less web content.

This article was included to this discussion on administrative processes since it tends to highlight important after thoughts that would add value in making recommendations to encourage usage of technology based systems. While many higher educational institutions tend to provide professional development opportunities for faculty members to use technology for their teaching on a program by program by basis, this article tends to suggest otherwise. Faculty members would like sustained support and in many ways also like informal help from peers.

The authors of this article have gone beyond traditional professional development formulas that are usually suggested in literature. They have duly recognized that professional development would not mean too much if support structures don’t help faculty members to facilitate this transition. The student perspective highlighted in the article has given faculty cues in designing courses based on student needs. The suggested professional development models have provided faculty the choice of several models to choose from depending on their context.

While the concept used seemed to be excellent, the methodological approach used by the authors does not seem to be sound. General conclusions made are not from a representative sample thus extending this to a wider population would not be statistically valid. The authors also seem to have made strong references to their own experiences and opinions at times disregarding the findings from the study at large.

6.      Accountability/Return on Investment

 Annotated Bibliography on Using Professional Development to Support Teaching Online.

 Moonen, J. (2003). Simplified Return-on-Investment. Interactive Learning Environments, 11(2), 147-165

This article suggests a new approach in calculating the return on investment in introducing technology to education. While it acknowledges the use of more traditional economic and financial based arguments, it suggests the inclusion of more intangible qualitative issues in making the ROI calculations. It presents a step by step approach in calculating ROI using all these perspectives and then provides an application example in demonstrating how these concepts are used. The main idea behind this is for improving the accountability of using technology for teaching purposes. ROI is a specific measure that calculates a return based on a specific investment and using a cost benefit model would help academics to substantiate their claims in suggesting the use of technology to yield benefits.

This article was selected for this analysis on administrative processes since accountability is a key theme that is being discussed in the current post secondary context. Showing there are methods available to calculate specific benefits on more qualitative aspects such as technology use improves the chances of arguing for substantial investments that usually require specific tangible returns to be proved. This in turn will allow institutions to be the initiators as well as users more accountable for what is being used or delivered.

This article has clearly shown how both quantitative measures and qualitative aspects could be considered in calculating ROI. Clarity is one of the biggest strengths of this article especially when explaining a topic that could be interpreted in such a way.

The biggest drawback in this approach is that it tends to insinuate that all technological use could be attached to a clear return. There are many aspects in education where the short term impact cannot be measured. This is true for technology as well. This would provide false hopes as well as unreasonable expectations at times in expecting educators to show a clear return of their investment requests during the budgetary process. Although accountability still could be measured without a clear return, this article tends to allow the reader to assume that both accountability and return are interwoven and are not mutually exclusive.

 7.      Program Evaluation Models

 Annotated Bibliography on Evaluation Methods for E-learning

Mandinach, E. B. (2005). The development of effective evaluation methods for e learning: A concept paper and action plan. Teachers College Record, 107(8), 1814-1835

This article examines unique characteristics associated with evaluating an e-learning based program in terms of it meeting the original pedagogical objectives specified. It highlights the new variables, constrains and issues that makes e-learning fundamentally different from face to face evaluations. The article highlights current issues associated with a program evaluation in an e-learning context. It also emphasises the current areas of agreement and disagreement with traditional face to face evaluation models. Further it suggests different approaches that could be used for online program evaluations with a clear action plan. In an appendix, it provides a series of questions that could be used for a summative evaluation.

This article was selected since evaluation of the usage intensity is a very big component of the administrative study and it is a fundamental section that is being studied for the capstone project. Evaluation of usage intensity will help understand the degree of use of technology by faculty and students for their teaching and learning purposes. Also factors that affect this intensity are further investigated.

This article has very clearly and comprehensively laid out evaluation procedures that are applicable in evaluating a program/course that is taught using e-learning options. Its identification of why e-based program evaluation is different from face to face programs highlights the important differences between the two formats that would otherwise have been ignored without understanding its consequences. The extent the authors have gone into providing tools and even questions to carry out an evaluation program would provide the reader a set of pragmatic steps in taking this forward.

The evaluation emphasis in this article tends to rest more on a summative form ignoring the importance of formative evaluation. While the latter has not been totally neglected, the heavy emphasis on summative tools tends to give the reader an impression that formative evaluation is less significant in e-learning based programs.  On the contrary like in face to face evaluation, formative evaluation of e-learning programs would provide corrective action to be taken to align the program according to its original objectives and the needs of its user groups.

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