ROLE OF RESEARCHER
The researcher works at the university where the study will be conducted. The rationality of the study was developed by the researcher’s observation of how technology is used in the workplace. The researcher drew invaluable information from the discussions with other faculty members on their perceptions and beliefs, monitoring students’ engagement and enthusiasm when their lessons incorporate different technology elements, attending professional development sessions at the university.
Research indicates three qualities a researcher need to possess before conducting a qualitative study. A researcher needs to take a naturalistic position, develop the necessary skills in order to be able to generate answers from the participants, and develop naturalistic inquiry strategies (Johnson, & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). Strauss and Corbin (1994) refer to these aspects as theoretical sensitivity. The researcher has developed the required sensitivity through several resources such as the review of related literature as well as work and personal experience. The researcher will adopt a naturalistic position while conducting the interviews and analyzing the data to ensure the credibility of the study and gain readers’ confidence. In addition, the combination of the researcher’s work experience and graduate studies helped in development the research topic and relevant questions.
LIMITATIONS AND DELIMITATIONS
The following limitations need to be considered for this study:
1-The findings of the study cannot be generalized to all higher education institutions as the data generated will describe the level of technology adoption and faculty members’ perceptions in one institution.
2-The study focuses only on faculty perceptions pertaining to technology usage and adoption and further research need to explore students’ perceptions toward technology integration in traditional instruction at the same institution.
3-A random sample of faculty members will be contacted for the interviews on voluntary basis and many faculties might not agree to take part in the study.
4-Faculty members may feel reluctant to be open about the effectiveness of technology integration at the university since they work at the same place.
5-The study will seek CMS logs for the undergraduate courses which exclude how technology is integrated at the graduate level.
6-The study involved only one CMS-Blackboard; therefore, the coding and classification of the features within Blackboard is related to the purpose of the study and the researcher that claim to extend the same features to other course management systems.
7-The study is limited to faculty members who teach at the University of Sharjah and who independently decide to integrate technology in their traditional teaching. Therefore, the choice of using technology was no mandated by the university. The study is limited to lecture based courses as there are not any online courses offered at the university. The assumption is that faculty members are responsible for their own decisions to integrate technology in their teaching.
8-The study is limited to faculty members who teach at the University of Sharjah and who independently decide to integrate technology in their traditional teaching. Therefore, the choice of using technology was no mandated by the university.
9-The study is limited to lecture based courses as there are not any online courses offered at the university.
The study is delimited by:
1-The results of the study will be collected from three instruments to ensure reliability and validity.
2-The participation in the interviews and focus groups is based on voluntary basis and the good will of the participants as no incentives were given to the participants to take part in the study.
3-The interview questions for the interviews and focus groups are derived from extensive review of the literature and the data revealed from the CMS logs.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is important because college and universities provide faculty members with course management systems to enhance the productivity of teaching and learning experiences. However, course management systems are not efficiently used by faculty members. Therefore, there is an emergent need to understand how faculty use a CMS and which tools are used more frequently. Likewise, it is necessary to understand how faculty members perceive the use of technology in their teaching and what factors encourage or limit its usage to supplement their face-to-face instruction. By understanding how technology and perceived by faculty members, university stakeholders and administrators can better assess the technology professional development needs of their faculty and develop cohesive sessions that help faculty integrate their pedagogical beliefs with the available technology.
E-learning technologies necessitate that there should be a paradigm shift from the traditional view of teacher-centered to teacher-learner centered view. In such case, teachers can be seen as facilitators to the construction of knowledge and co-learners as well as they try to learn how technologies can be used to enhance communication among students. The research adopts two pragmatic interconnected views towards learning. The constructivist view promotes the notion that teachers act as facilitators to help students construct their own knowledge. The connectivist view further promotes the use of networks and social interaction to gain access to a wealth of knowledge. Consequently, faculty members need to understand and be able to use different learning technologies and networks in their traditional teaching. In such case they work as facilitators of knowledge and co-learners of different networks to make meaningful learning experiences in a lecture-based context. Since learning technologies are increasing in higher education, it is necessary to identify the factors that contribute to effective use of these technologies. How faculty use and perceive the use of a CMS can affect teaching and learning. the study provides an in-depth analysis of various factors that influence effective use of technology in traditional lecture-based classroom.
The study is useful for administrators and educators who are involved in developing planning and training sessions to ensure that different features of a CMS are used efficiently to engage students in their learning. The study is also vital because it could provide insights to faculty members who are interested in integration technology in their classes to understand how their perceptions and use of technology affect students’ learning.
This chapter presented an overview of the study, including background of the problem, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, significance and scope of the study, limitations and delimitations, assumptions and definition of terms. The researcher has established several assumptions developed from the literature reviewed by teaching beliefs and their correlation to the level of technology adoption that might affect the study. First, the use of a course management system in higher education will be key to enhance students’ learning in traditional classroom setting. Second, there level of adoption of technology is related to faculty perceptions and attitudes. The adoption of a particular teaching methodology may affect the level of technology adoption. Finally, the university technology culture and instructional support affect the level of use of technology by different faculty members.
The study continues with the literature review in chapter 11, to examine and provide a critical analysis to the existing literature that applies to the areas of web-enhanced learning, faculty perceptions towards technology integration, derivers and barriers to effective technology integration and finally the effect of appropriate professional development sessions. The aim of investigating these areas is to gain more insights and help to answer the research questions.