Build it and they will come .. not

In their article, Integration of Technology in Higher Education: A Review of Faculty Self-Perception (The Internet and Higher Education (2008 ) 11, pp 1-8), Georgina and Olson polled faculty at an American university to determine how faculty integrated technology into their pedagogy.

Between their study and review of the literature they found:

  • “while low level use of technologically enhanced pedagogy is wide-spread, high-level use is more sporadic” (p.1)
  • faculty felt isolated, unsupported and demoralized when trying to integrate technology
  • there remains a resistance, among some faculty, to integrate technology into their practice
  • it is the faculty members perceived belief of technology use benefits that matter
  • faculty struggle with integrating their personal pedagogy with technology
  • faculty are more proficient with hardware than software applications,  such as teaching platforms, online discussions, hypertext linking and web logging.
  • and faculty technology training has been limited and less successful than intended

Georgina and Olson warn with the increase in distance and blended education, preparing and supporting faculty adequately to increase their technology literacy is vital [defined as having the capacity to “design, develop, control, use and access technological systems and processes” (p.1.)].

From their results it seemed faculty prefer small group training with support, and next preferred asking other colleagues for help. Ironically, faculty are treated as competent enough to use technology and receive little support from institutions though faculty feel it is the responsibility of universities to help them.

More important, “The assumption seems to be that faculty will learn to use the system(s) to accommodate their instructional needs. It is as though faith in faculty’s ability outweighs the reality of learning a new paradigm” (p.2).

Respondents of the study felt, in order to support them to use technology, they needed release time, technology mentors, IT staff with instructional design experience, pay increases if using technology, survey of faculty needs, faculty-run technology forums and input, and training centres.

I find it interesting that an institutions focused on teaching and learning do little in the way of training their own. In the end, they must live by their own principles about learning, community and knowledge.

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