Factors Influencing Faculty Adoption of Web-based Courses in Teacher Education Programs Within the State University of New York
Martin, Margaret Hill
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This study sought to identify factors that influence the adoption of Web-based courses by State University of New York faculty members engaged in professional development and preparation of teachers. The central question of this research study was: What factors and concerns affect State University of New York teacher education faculty members' decisions regarding development and implementation of Web-based courses? The study addressed issues raised during earlier research efforts on the objections, problems, or barriers to the use of distance learning during the academic preparation of teachers. Earlier studies revealed technical barriers surrounding the perceived reliability or unreliability of hardware components or software available to instructors. Non-technical problems centered on professional objections to online courses. Job security, intellectual property rights, course control, and the constant requirement to learn or maintain new skills were listed as concerns by faculty. Implementation of Web-based courses also required a training period for faculty. Teacher education programs found within the State University of New York were selected as the focus of this study due to the availability of a structured resource for faculty seeking to develop and present online courses to their students. State University of New York faculty respondents in these programs were experienced educators who viewed Web-based teaching within the context of pre-service teacher preparation as important or very important but were concerned about "quality" issues such as student discussion or interaction, the suitability of course content, and concerns that more time is needed to prepare online courses without any corresponding support or policy guidance from institutional administration. Few courses were offered to pre-service teachers in the setting that was studied. Many respondents viewed the use of Web-mediated instruction as inconsistent with the requirements of pre-service classroom observation or other efforts to develop teaching skills. Several respondents reported that they had no online teaching experience but indicated some exposure to online teaching resources. This would suggest that hybrid courses (a mix of classroom contact supported by Web-based classes) should be explored.
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