internal rewards, such as self-fulfillment and enjoyment of teaching also motivated
faculty to use technology. Overall, observing increases in student motivation and student
performance were more important incentives to increase the use of technology than were
financial rewards for participating in the use of technology (Miller & Husmann, 1999).
Other studies have identified important factors which influence positive faculty
attitude towards instructional technology. The availability of equipment ranks highest in
importance (Groves & Zemel, 2000; Nantz & Lundgren, 1998; Spotts & Bowman, 1993).
Improved student learning was also ranked as very important (Groves & Zemel, 2000;
Spotts & Bowman, 1993). These studies suggest that in order for a program designed to
increase faculty use of technology to be successful, program developers must ensure the
technology is readily accessible.
Time must be made available for faculty to experiment with the technology, and
training must be provided to support them in their efforts. Dusick and Yildirim (2000)
report a high positive correlation between ownership of a home computer and computer
competency. They concluded that use of a computer by faculty at home has a positive
effect on their use of computer for instructional purposes.
Other reasons have been identified as contributing to faculty reluctance to adopt
technology. Among the most cited reasons include lack of training, lack of support,
unavailability of equipment, limited access to hardware, and lack of funds (Dickson,
1999; Novek, 1999; Okpala & Okpala, 1997; Quick, 1999; Roberts & Ferris, 1994;
Spotts & Bowman, 1993). Time requirements and availability of equipment were also
identified as usage barriers to technology integration. Spots and Bowman (1993) found
that over 50% of their 306 respondents indicated that the time required to learn and use
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technology was the major contributing factor to its low level of acceptance by faculty.
Quick (1999) also noted that lack of time available to learn how to use technology was a
Evidence from the Annual Campus Computing Survey (Green, 1999), the 1999
Faculty Survey of the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California,
Los Angeles (Saxe, 1999) and from other studies (Finkelstein, Frances, Jewett & Scholz,
2000) suggests the influence of information technology on the academic coursework over
the past few years has probably increased the work load of faculty by five to ten percent.
This is because electronic mail now allows students access to their instructors 24-hour-a-
day, 7-day-a-week, with course related inquiries. Faculty are also spending additional
time in learning the new technology and in revising their course materials to integrate
newly available resources from the Internet.
Evidence suggests that most of this increased workload has gone uncompensated
(Frances, 1999; Maitland, Hendrick, & Dubeck, 2000) and that it may be the greatest
stressor in faculty work life (Saxe, 1999). These facts may serve to discourage others
from adopting the use of technology in their courses. Green (2001) revealed that the
unfortunate ironies of college and university efforts to promote integration of technology
in the curriculum is that very few institutions recognize faculty instructional technology
efforts in promotion and review processes.
Novek (1999) mentions concerns expressed by faculty regarding the technology
integration in their curriculum. Among these are the fear that their role as instructors
may be devalued and possibly lose their employment, and that increased integration of
technology in teaching would dehumanize the instructional experience for students and
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result in alienation. According to Novek, although most of these concerns were related to
distance education technology, the faculty saw the increased use of technology as a threat
to their livelihood.
Another factor that was found to influence the extent to which technology was
used by faculty was the relevance of technology in their instruction. Okpala and Okpala
(1997) took a random sample of faculty members from three Historically Black College
and University Institutions in the South. Thirty-eight percent of the respondents indicate
they felt technology was not useful to their instruction. Most of the instructors in this
group also indicated they did not use technology in their courses. Institutional support
may directly and indirectly influence the staff in their decision to adopt technology in
their curriculum. Institutional support therefore plays a critical role in the success of the
integration of technology in teaching (Bottomley et al., 1999; Hart et al., 2000). Thus, an
institution must establish a suitable environment for instructors before any significant
change in attitude can take place.
The Changing Role of Faculty
The faculties in institutions of higher education in the United States have an
unprecedented opportunity to make a difference through their teaching. Currently the
undergraduate population is different than it was a generation ago: more students are
enrolled part-time, women have replaced men as the majority, and there are
proportionately more students on campus who are 25 years or older (U.S. Department of
Education, 2002b). The current information economy requires the labor force to have
high analytical and communication skills, which a college or university education
promotes. In addition, the rapid changes in society that characterizes virtually every
aspect of commerce not only requires leadership of highly educated workers, but
simultaneously creates a growing demand for continuing higher education (Spanier,
Institutions of higher education are being called upon to contribute more
profoundly to human, economic, and cultural progress. Academics in the information
age are required not only to educate, but also to inspire and to enable life-long learning.
The faculty remain the most influential factor in the quality of this education (Ali, 2003);
they continue to set the standards, determine the content, and deliver the necessary
instruction. The role of the faculty is changing to keep up with these expectations and
opportunities which education must offer. Teaching models are being transformed to
accommodate various developments such as increasing diversity among students, an
exponentially expanding knowledge base, and the ever-newly emerging tools of
Diversity of students
A transformation in the role of the faculty is in accordance with demands of
society to rededicate higher education to students. The Kellogg Commission on the
Future of State and Land-Grant Universities urges institutions to put students first by
“meeting the legitimate needs of learners, whenever they can, in whatever they need, and
whenever they need it” (Kellogg Commission, 1997, p. 9).
According to Spanier (2001), students today are considerably different in
demographic identifiers than those of the past, and they are expected to become even
more diverse in the coming years. These demographic, personal, and cultural changes
influence what is taught and learned in the context of formal courses and through out-of-
class experiences. How faculty relate to students is also affected.
In recent years, the fastest growing enrollment sector consists of adults and part-
time students. In 1999, thirty-nine percent of students enrolled as part-time compared to
twenty-eight percent in 1970. The percentage of college students twenty-five years of
age or older increased from twenty-eight percent in 1970 to thirty-nine percent in 1999
(U. S. Department of Education, 2002b). These trends suggest students are bringing
more extensive life experience that will filter into their continuing education. Those
students tend to be more highly focused on their educational objectives, and often have
greater information to contribute in class discussions which goes beyond the assigned
texts and readings.
Effective teaching builds on the backgrounds of learners, regardless of their age
or experience. Students learn best when they internalize content of instruction by
integrating the content into their existing frameworks of understanding (Snelbecker,
1985). The broad spectrum of “previous knowledge” represented among a given student
population challenges faculty to find out about the students in their classes and modify
instructional approaches to content accordingly. Students are also challenged to assume
responsibility for more active involvement in their own learning process.
The need for faculty to be concerned with all aspects of student development is
reinforced by a multitude of concurrent social and cultural changes on college campuses.
A study of such development on college and university campuses points to changes in
students’ emerging values, family background, and goals (Hansen, 1998). Hansen (1998)
reports that students today are less likely to say that developing a meaningful philosophy
of life is an important educational objective, and more likely to look to increased earning
power as the primary benefit of college. Many more are politically disengaged compared
to students some few decades ago. Substance abuse among students is on the rise, with
more than 40% of all college students engaging in high-risk behavior and drinking.
According to Spanier (2001), some of the educational challenges that colleges and
universities face are instilling character, conscience, and social responsibility in their
students in a society that often gives the impression that such virtues are optional.
Growth in Knowledge
The knowledge base is now estimated to double every eighteen months and
therefore education should not only represent a sizable proportion of what might be
studied but also must prepare its students to cope with a lifetime of continuing
exponential change (Altbach, 2001). As students are faced with an overwhelming
number of options, they need more expert advice in choosing from among the many
interests and courses offered by institution of higher education.
According to Spanier (2001), in the past there was a relatively circumscribed
academic preparatory route that all students were expected to cover. Today, there are
many more voices and perspectives contributing to the encompassing worldview that
reflects contemporary society, too many to be covered within the requirements for one
academic degree. The increasing number of fields of specializations forces choices that
did not exist in the past. Students need help negotiating the options presented to them to
achieve a coherent and satisfying educational experience. Spanier (2001) further adds
that faculty are required not only to advise about their own fields, but also to promote
interdisciplinary connections which are increasingly important for understanding the
world’s complexities, and to delineate educational foundations to best serve their
Students in the information age also need to develop the habits and skills that will
enable them to keep current with the continuing flow of new knowledge. Faculty of
higher education institutions are required to assist students to learn to think critically, be
creative, search and synthesize relevant information, analyze from many perspectives,
draw sound conclusions, and solve problems successfully (Levine, 2001). Proactive
approaches to learning give students practice in these skills and reinforce the notion that
learning is an ongoing process. According to Spanier (2001), the role of faculty under
these circumstances is to guide students by means of such activities as class discussions,
independent projects, research experience, practicum learning, and other methods which
emphasize students’ engagement. In addition to critical thinking and problem-solving
skills, the ability to work in teams and collaborative learning experiences are indications
of workplace readiness. Glidden (1997) reports that universities are changing from the
century-long era in which the professors assumed the role of expert and “master of all” in
their disciplines. There is simply too much to know; consequently, an instructor’s main
responsibility in this information age is to be a coach (i.e., a guide to learning).
According to Glidden (1997), instructors are required to help focus learning, set examples
of scholarly attitudes and attributes, and provide the basic foundation for life-long
The Impact of Technology
Rapid advancements in information technology continue to revolutionize the
process of teaching and learning in higher education. New digital technology enables
instruction to become more interactive. Email and other networking modes increase
interaction between students and teachers and among students, thus changing the
traditional unidirectional flow of communication handed down from instructors of the
past. Green (2001) reported that almost two-thirds (64.1%) of all college courses now
use email, up from 59.5% in 2000, 54.0% in 1999, and 20.1% in 1995. More frequent
feedback from instructors increases opportunities for students to ask questions, and
facilitate team-based projects.
According to Spanier (2001), the World Wide Web, multimedia, computer-
assisted tools for design and writing, and other applications all support a more active
student-learning process. Realistic computer-based simulations provide practice in
critical thinking and problem solving. Multimedia presentations demonstrate concepts
and provide elaboration on context, giving learners greater opportunity to engage with the
subject matter. The use of computer design, computer-based foreign language tutorials,
word-processing software for writing and editing, and other technology tools enable
repeated practice of skills, and in addition supply students experience with applications
they will use later on the job.
Developments in technology hold substantial implications for faculty. As faculty
of higher education integrate digital resources into a course, instructors must evolve as
managers and facilitators of a variety of learning experiences, and may share the role of
content expert with others whose lectures or instructional materials may be accessed
electronically. As tools of technology free up time that might otherwise have been spent
covering content, faculty may be able to devote more of their efforts to leading
discussions or working with small groups and individual students (Young, 1997).
New technology tools enable faculty to do things that were not possible some
decades ago. They provide both important means and the flexibility for meeting the
educational needs of students today. Yet to make the most of technology and counteract
many of the dehumanizing aspects of online communication, faculty and students must
redefine their understanding of their concepts of instruction and acquire new skills to deal
Faculty and Professional Development in Technology
Providing ongoing and relevant faculty development for all instructors is vital, as
the instructor’s role shifts to meet the demands of a rapidly changing society. According
to Nelson (1983), faculty development refers to any endeavor “designed to improve
faculty performance in all aspects of their professional lives - scholars, advisors,
academic leaders, and contributors to institutional decisions” (p. 70), and as Sikes and
Barrett (1976) add, its focus is to make “college teaching more successful and more
satisfying” (p. 1).
The U. S. Department of Education (1996) defines professional development as
“the rigorous and relevant content, strategies, and organizational supports that ensure the
preparation and career-long development of instructors and others whose competence,
expectations, and actions influence the teaching and learning environment.” Grant
(1996) adds to this list “support for instructors as they encounter new challenges and
implement technology use to support learning” (p. 95).
In terms of human behavior, development broadly refers to changes in individuals
over time (Feldman, 1997). In many instances, change is a compelling force which
drives academic institutions. It is a necessary responsibility of faculty to be primary
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