22 SES 10 C, Faculty and Their Working Context
Recent technological developments stimulate not only teachers but also researchers to examine profoundly how to utilize emergent technologies in learning environments. Teachers feel under pressure because of their students’ increasing use of technology both in and out of the class. Although the lack of familiarity with new technologies impacts some teachers positively (for instance, they are eager to learn and to integrate these technologies into their classroom), some teachers are affected negatively (for example, they are reluctant to learn and to integrate these due to lack of interest, motivation, time) (Silva, Correia, & Pardo-Ballester, 2010). Researchers highlighted lack of technology use in the learning environments (Dudeny, 2007). According to Deutschmann and Panichi (2009), to overcome this, more training and guidance are required. When training and guidance are provided to the teachers, they feel more confident; and thus, their integration level of these technologies into their courses increases (Cuban, 1998). This is also valid for higher education since it has been already accepted that technology has become more significant part of higher education day by day (Koehler, Mishra, Hershey & Peruski, 2004). Currently, there is also a pressure in higher education to actively utilize technologies to improve teaching and learning in the classrooms. Generally, the support related to technologies are provided through centers within the institutions, departments of faculties such as instructional technology center(s) to promote technology integration enterprises in their institutions (Butler & Chao, 2001). For this study, Rogers’s diffusion of innovations theory was selected since this theory ensures the most appropriate theoretical background for studies on the adaption of technology in higher education and educational environments (Medlin, 2001; Parisot, 1995). In other words, by means of Rogers’s theory focusing on examining the diffusion and adaptation of an innovation, the process of faculty mentoring project can be explained more effectively and reasonably. Furthermore, Rogers’ theory constitutes a theoretical framework for this study while defining and explaining the elements of faculty mentoring project. In addition to this, diffusion of innovations theory provides to comprehend what the role of this project in promoting faculty change is because according to Rogers (2003), adaptation is “full use of an innovation as the best course of action available” (p.177), while diffusion is “the process in which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system” (p. 5). In this study, four elements of diffusion of innovation, which are innovation, communication channels, time and social system and five stages of the innovation-decision process, namely knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation are covered.
To sum up, in this study, a faculty mentoring project was carried out within the context of graduate course at spring semester of 2013-2014 academic year in METU. Throughout this project, I as graduate student aimed to provide pedagogical and technical support for faculty member to use and integrated technological tools in her courses via one to one mentoring and just-in-time training during face to face meetings. The main purpose of the current study was to examine the impact of the faculty mentoring project on four elements of diffusion of innovations, and the steps of mentee’s innovation decision process viafollowing research questions. These were:
1) How did the faculty mentoring project scaffold four elements of diffusion of innovations, namely innovation, communication channels, time and social system?
2) How did the faculty mentoring project scaffold the steps in mentee’s innovation decision process namely knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation?
Butler, T., & Chao, T. (2001). Partners for change students as effective technology mentors. Active Learning in Higher Education 2(2), 101–113. Cuban, L. (1998). High-tech schools and low-tech teaching. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 14(2), 5–7. Deutschmann, M., & Panichi, L. (2009). Instructional design, teacher practice, and learner autonomy. In J. Molka-Danielsen & M. Deutschmann (Eds.), Learning and teaching in the virtual world of Second Life (pp. 27–44). Trondheim, Norway: Tapir Academic Press. Dudeney, G. (2007). The Internet and the language classroom: A practical guide for teachers.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gibbs, G.R. (2007). Analyzing Qualitative Data. Throwbridge, Wiltshire: Sage Publications. Koehler, M.J., Mishra,P., Hershey, K., & Peruski, L. (2004). With a little help from your students: A new model for faculty development and online course design. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 12(1), 25-55. Medlin, B .D. (2001). The Factors that May Influence a Faculty Member’s Decision to Adopt Electronic Technologies in Instruction. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia, U.S.A. Parisot, A. H. (1995). Technology and Teaching: The Adaptation and Diffusion of Technological Innovation by a Community College Faculty. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Montana State University, Montana, U.S.A. Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press. Silva, K., Correia, A.P., & Pardo-Ballester, C. (2010). A faculty mentoring experience: Learning together in second Life. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 26 (4), 149-159. Stake, R.E. (1995). The Art of Case Study Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Stage.
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