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Why Faculty Did - and Did Not - Integrate Instructional Software in Their Undergraduate Classrooms

Timothy Weston
Erstpublikation in: Innovative Higher Education, Volume 30, Number 2, June 2005, pp. 99-115(17)
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Using a comparative case study approach, the researcher followed 13 instructors for 2 years as they attempted to integrate the Visible Human Dissector, an educational software program, into their undergraduate anatomy courses. Instructors were motivated to use the software as a supplement for limited educational resources and because of its ability to provide students with novel educational experiences. Obstacles in technology access and services as well as organizational factors prevented integration. However, personal hesitancy and lack of confidence, posited to be a major obstacle to integration in the literature, played only a minimal role in slow integration for these instructors. The greatest obstacles to changes in instruction supported by the new technology were difficulties in finding computers to run the software in traditional anatomy laboratories.
Von Timothy Weston im Text Why Faculty Did - and Did Not - Integrate Instructional Software in Their Undergraduate Classrooms (2005)
Ingrid SchönwaldStarting from the notice that in spite of its obvious benefits to instructors and students a great deal of educational technology never reaches the classroom or is only used sporadically the author introduces to the guiding question of his study: “Why do instructors use or do not use new software in their classroom?” Within an eclectic presentation of some literature studies about technology integration in K-12 and university settings the author introduces the two-barrier model of Ertmer (1999): First order barriers are frequently encountered by teachers who attempt minor changes to instruction and face extrinsic obstacles, e. g. poor technical infrastructure and access. Second-order barriers are “intrinsic” barriers which are grounded in the instructors believes and values of the teachers and prevent them from fundamentally changing their instructional design. Based on a comparative case study the author examined the experiences of 13 instructors from 10 institutions attempting to integrate an innovative anatomy software application – the Visible Human Dissector (VHD) – into their undergraduate anatomy courses and analyses their use of this application, as well as motivating factors and obstacles. The instructors’ use of the simulation differed strongly in the frequency of use, instructional methods and embedded settings. All but one instructor denied that the software had a substantial change effect on their instructional course design, but rather replaced existing presentations or moved study material from print to the computer. All instructors stressed the advantages of the VHD over other resources as a cognitive tool to learn anatomy in a qualitatively different manner as a motivating factor. Insufficient technology equipment was perceived as a main hindering factor by the instructors. Many instructors faced substantial difficulties in finding computers to run the application in anatomy laboratories. Beyond that, many instructors perceived the inflexibility of the curriculum, course content and schedules as a significant obstacle to changing their course to incorporate new instructional methods. Most instructors also perceived the extra time effort to learn the application and change their scripts for lecture as a serious obstacle to use the full potential of the application. The individual level of technological confidence didn’t seem to have a significant effect on the adoption. Interestingly none of the instructors had interacted with specialists or had taken advantage of related professional development efforts in their respective institutions as most instructors felt, that their institution would not have much to offer them regarding extra help, training, or incentives. While the theoretical framework and especially the presented literature review in this article is only moderate I found this article interesting due to its empirical research approach comparing the attitude of different instructors regarding the integration of the same software. Due to the limited number of instructors involved in the study no generalizations or recommendations of these findings can be made. However, it can sensitize support-units and eLearning promoters in universities to investigate into the specific first- and second-order barriers in their organization as well as authors of educational software to reflect of their options to minimize the adoption barriers of potential users.
[Source: www.elearning-reviews.org/]
Von Ingrid Schönwald, erfasst im Biblionetz am 20.08.2005

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KB IB clear
A. W. Bates, Gary Poole

KB IB clear
Computercomputer, Softwaresoftware
Jahr UmschlagTitelAbrufeIBOBKBLB
1999Managing Technological Change (A. W. Bates) 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 8, 8, 6, 5, 3, 21372551
2003Effective teaching with technology in higher education Personenreihenfolge alphabetisch und evtl. nicht korrekt (A. W. Bates, Gary Poole) 2, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2412326


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