Date of Award

7-8-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communications Media

First Advisor

Kurt P. Dudt, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Richard J. Lamberski, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Luis C. Almeida, Ph.D.

Abstract

This benchmark study uses five research questions to examine the institutional factors that impact professors’ adoption of webinars to deliver courses. A 62-item questionnaire was used to structure telephone interviews with senior instructional technology administrators from 54 participating colleges and universities located in the Middle Eastern States Region. The 20-minute interviews focused on four areas: institutional organization, faculty characteristics, technical infrastructure, and the technical support available to faculty. The data describes the present state of webinar technology adoption among the participating colleges and universities. Data from the interviews were presented using descriptive analysis, correlation analysis and exploratory factor analysis. The in-depth descriptive data is summarized for each of the four focus areas, including enrollment, institutional setting, organizational climate, long-range planning, course delivery formats, observed faculty characteristics, adoption-decision factors, hardware, Internet access, and technical support. A major finding from the descriptive analysis indicated that nearly three quarters of participating institutions make webinar software readily available, yet less than a third report that webinars are being used to teach courses. Data from the Spearman Rho analyses indicated 52 significant correlations. Findings are presented for enrollment, adopting online learning, observed faculty confidence in using instructional technology, observed faculty opinions about the effects of instructional technology, and observed faculty confidence in available instructional technology. Data from the exploratory factor analysis indicated an initial 13 composite measures from the 47 independent variables. Post-hoc analysis using Cronbach's alpha revealed a final 11 composite measures for webinars adoption. This study found that the participating institutions provide sufficient organizational support to enable the adoption and implementation of webinars for teaching. The hardware, software, and Internet connectivity is generally available throughout the subject pool; yet, with three quarters of respondents stating that web conferencing software is readily available to their faculty, few professors have adopted webinars for teaching. Low faculty confidence in using instructional technology appears to be a factor that limits adoption. This study indicates that more instructional designers and more instructional technology trainers are needed to support faculty implementation of instructional technology, and therefore adoption of webinars in higher education.

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