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Teaching and Learning with Technology: Uses, Skills, Motivators and Obstacles

 

Purpose

 

The use of information technology (IT) at universities world wide has grown and changed substantially over the decade. Information technology is an integrated framework of computers, software applications, multimedia content, the web, web-based applications, learning management systems and other tools used to enhance the teaching and learning process. Universities around the world are increasingly being dependent on information technologies. Research indicates that integrating IT into the curriculum is a gradual, reflective process for most faculty members and is influenced by a complex mix of factors. Whether supporting the use of new technology in traditional classroom environments, in the delivery of fully-online courses, or implementing hybrid courses that include online activities, universities face major challenges in meeting the technology needs of faculty and students. This research aims to find the level of usage of IT and the skills level of faculty and students at NUS. Successful implementation depends primarily on faculty and student attitudes towards the use of IT in teaching and learning and the training and support provided for these tools. The study also hopes to identify the motivating or hindering factors that drive the faculty and students towards the use of IT for their teaching and learning.

 

Published Works:

 

bullet An article entitled “Factors Affecting the Adoption of Information technology (IT) in Higher Education” was published in the CDTL Brief, April 2007, Vol 10, No. 2.
bullet 2. A conference paper titled Assessing the Impact of Technology on Teaching & Learning :Faculty & Student Perspectives” was presented at the 8th APRU Distance Learning and the Internet Conference 2007 to be held in Bangkok, Thailand December 12th-15th,  2007

 

Research questions:
bullet To develop a baseline for the current usage and the skill levels of faculty and students.
bullet To gauge the levels of interest in the development and usage of technology-based resources.

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The factors (motivating or hindering) that drive the faculty and students to use the existing or future technology-based resources.

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The support and training provided to the faculty and students. Does NUS address the challenges that faculty and students identify?

 

Key Findings

 

Results from the Faculty Survey:

 

bullet Virtually all faculty members report the use of Windows operating system, but the usage of Macintosh is also on the rise at 25%.
bullet The desktop computer still seems to be the most popular device with about 92% of them using it.

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The top three technologies (available at classrooms/lecture theatres) that are currently being used by faculty members are the computer workstation at the podium, the data/video projector and the overhead projector.

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Traditional technologies like word processing (93.2%) and presentation (94.5%) software are used more often than any other more computer-related technologies followed by the learning management system, IVLE and the digital library resources at 78.8% and 78.2% respectively.
bullet 52.7% of faculty members surveyed reported that they are proficient with both word-processing and presentation software.

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Faculty members use technology mostly for communication and convenience. It is therefore not surprising to find that email technology is the most favoured communication tool.

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78% of respondents perceive to use IT well in their courses.
bullet The top four internet-related activities are at the administrative level - disseminate course materials and assignments (82.72%), post lesson plans/syllabus (75.51%), facilitate communication with students (73.46%), and post online readings and links (65.02%).
bullet “Recognition and awards”, “professional prestige and status” and “monetary awards” are the least motivating factors for faculty members to use technology in their teaching.
bullet “Lack of time” was considered the most hindering factor of all with 46% of the respondents agreeing that time was an important factor when using IT for teaching.
bullet Faculty members are more concerned about the impact that technology would cause on the quality of teaching and student learning rather than rewards and incentives.

 

 

Results from the Student Survey:

 

bullet 92.5% of students use the Windows operating system.
bullet Only 21% of the students bring their laptops to class.

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Students access the internet by either broadband or wireless with 59% connecting use wired broadband and 31% using a wireless network.

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The laptop computer was the most popular device, with 77% of the students using it.
bullet Traditional technologies like word processing and presentation software are used more often than any other more computer-related technologies followed by the usage of IVLE and digital library resources.

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Students learn applications if the knowledge of those applications is a basic requirement for the courses they learn.

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More than half of the students surveyed reported that they are proficient with both word-processing (54%) and presentation (52%) software.
bullet 73% considered email as their favoured means of communication used for learning-related purposes.
bullet The overall usage on internet surfing for both course work (82%) and leisure (81%) is similar but the frequency of usage varies.
bullet Postgraduate students do not use the learning management system, IVLE as much as the undergraduate students. 

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One-fifth of the students have never accessed IVLE and a similar proportion of students do not access lesson plans, syllabus or online readings.

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43% of the students preferred taking courses that use extensive levels of technology.
bullet 59% of the students perceive that the instructor’s use of IT in their courses has provoked interest in the subject matter, thereby increased their interest in learning.
bullet 58% of the students were convinced that technology had helped them to engage more efficiently and effectively with exercises and IT also helped them to communicate and collaborate with their peers in a better way.
bullet 50% of the respondents considered “personal motivation to use IT” as the most important motivating factor and 43 percent would use IT if they are confident in using it.