deliver technology-based resources, and to examine the pedagogical effectiveness of
technology-supported instruction (Strategic Technology Plan, Ohio University, 1999).
4. Statewide Resources
Ohio University’s Southeastern Ohio Learning Network has been in existence
since 1985. It is operated through a collaborative arrangement among Communication
Network Services, the Telecommunications Center, and Regional Higher Education.
Initially, a two-way microwave network linked the Chillicothe, Eastern, Lancaster,
Southern, and Zanesville campuses with the main campus in Athens. In 1997, a
compressed video network (full T-1) was added to provide additional delivery capacity.
Each regional campus now has one microwave and one compressed video classroom
(Ohio Learning Network 2003).
In 2000, a compressed video classroom was added to the Ohio University
teaching center in Pickerington bringing the total of Ohio University distance-learning
classrooms to fifteen. Courses are offered over the network for baccalaureate programs
in business, classics, English, modern languages, and nursing, and graduate programs in
education and engineering. In the 2002 spring quarter, a total of 21 courses were offered
for over 825 students (Ohio Learning Network, 2003).
The Southeast Ohio Learning Network also interconnects the statewide Ohio
Learning Network, the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s COREnet, and other public
networks. By adhering to international standards and utilizing standard networking
architectures, it is possible to connect Ohio University with virtually any non-proprietary
videoconference room in the world (Strategic Technology Plan, Ohio University, 1999).
5. Residence Hall Network Access (ResNet)
Ohio University is committed to providing students with the technology they will
need to be successful in today’s working environment. The university has installed state-
of-the-art computers, completed with printer and network connections, in all 4,109 rooms
in the 40 residence halls (News and Information, 2000). Communication Network
Services (CNS) and Residence and Campus Auxiliary Services have collaborated to
establish the Residence Hall Network (ResNet) to provide all 4,000 residence hall rooms
on the Athens campus direct cable access to the Internet and campus computer network.
ResNet offers on-campus resident network services and 24-hour access to Internet at a
rate about 175 times faster than today's fastest modem which relies on telephone lines to
provide access (Information Technology Newsletter, August 2002). Residence hall
telephone circuits can also be used with modems for dial-up microcomputer connections
to the University’s modem pools (Ohio University Computing facilities, 2003). CNS has
also developed critical support strategies to enable students to connect their computers to
the network quickly, easily, and reliably.
6. Computer Access
Ohio University has 56 computer labs available for student use. These computer
labs are equipped with 777 IBM PC and compatibles, 400 Apple Macintosh systems, and
66 (UNIX or VMS) workstations. Of the 1,240 Windows, Macintosh and workstations,
at least 946 have network connections and can be used to access the central services and
the Internet. The labs also have 46 terminals which connect with central computers.
Some of the labs can be used by students enrolled in particular classes, or departments.
Others are available to all students and are operated by Computer Services. In addition
the labs provide free laser printing to users (Ohio University Computing facilities, 2003).
The Ohio University’s Wide Area Network (WAN) provides data communication
within and between Athens and the regional campuses. Connections to the WAN can be
established through direct network connections such as the Ethernet or Apple LocalTalk
(through a router), a dedicated serial port, or a dial-up serial port, though the serial port
connections are gradually being replaced by Ethernet connections. Most of the
University’s buildings are wired for direct network connection to the Wide Area Network
to enable high speed access to central computers and the Internet (Ohio University
Computing facilities, 2003).
The WAN is available for dial-up access through a modem connection. There are
three conventional modems pools; 18 slow-speed modems from off-campus, 22 high-
speed modems from on campus only, and 72 high-speed modems from off campus only.
These modem pools provide access to OAK, ALICE, and the University’s central
systems (Ohio University Computing facilities, 2003).
Ohio University’s Communication Network Services (CNS) provides dial-up
Internet access to students, staff and faculty. There are 72 modems to provide services
from off-campus and 48 modems from on-campus all operating at 56,000 bits/sec. This
connection service cost one dollar per hour during peak hours on campus and less after
peak hours. DialNet may be accessed anywhere in the country for an extra ten cents per
minute. Both services support PPP for TCP/IP connections. (Ohio University Computing
Facilities, 2003). Academic departments also receive a monthly DialNet subsidy that
equates to roughly 10 hours of free access per month per faculty member. To use the
subsidy, faculty members need to use a departmental Bobcat Account Code rather that a
personal account (Information Technology Newsletter, April 2002).
7. Student Computing Initiatives
Ohio University provides enhanced messaging services for all students. These
services include electronic mail, personal Web pages, and an X.500 directory. The OAK
system has accounts in place and ready for over 30,000 students and for all employees.
This includes full time and part time, undergraduate, graduate, and medical students on
all campuses (OAK Internet Access and E-Mail System Usage, 2003).
In addition to email services, OAK provides many Internet resources such as the
Internet, Internet Relay Chat, Gopher, and connections to Internet Bulletin Boards. It also
enables the ability to download programs and files to students’ local computers from
remote systems. The OAK system is available from over 840 university-owned locations
on campus and many personally-owned computers. Over 80 percent of faculty have
email access in their offices (Ohio University Computing Facilities, 2003). Ohio
University Computer Network Services currently offers free wireless Internet access at
selected campus sites. Any student with wireless-capable computer, a valid OAK
identification number, and a password may access the service (Communication Network
At Ohio University, students can register for courses and access their end of
quarter course grades via the Touch-tone Registration and Information Processing System
(TRIPS). Students can also use the World Wide Web (WWW, as it will be referred to
hereafter) to request class schedules and grade reports sent to their email account. Prior
to registering for courses, students may also use the WWW to view the current
enrollment status (open, full, cancelled) of any course they wish to take. Upper-class
students can use the WWW to apply for financial aid for the coming year and prospective
students at any level may submit their application to Ohio University online (Strategic
Technology Plan, Ohio University, 1999).
The participants for this study were Group I tenure track faculty members of Ohio
University. Mailing labels obtained from the Ohio University Human Resource
Technology and Information Services dated April 24, 2003 indicated that the Athens
campus had 712 Group I tenured track faculty members (Human Resources Technology
and Information Services, 2003). Again, however, this study did not include the 49
faculty members from the College of Osteopathic Medicine and 36 faculty members who
participated in the pilot study.
The total number of possible participants for this study was 627 faculty members.
Part-time and early retiree faculty members, deans and other administrative personal were
not included in the study. As this study involved human subjects, it therefore required an
exemption affidavit from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) (see Appendix F).
Krejcie and Morgan (1970) observed that the ever-increasing demand for research
requires an efficient method of determining the sample size needed to be representative
of a given population. They have created a table to easily determine the representative
number of a given population for research activities which does not require calculations.
According to this table available in the Educational and Psychological Measurement
(1970, p. 608), the representative number of faculty members for this study should be
The study was intended to investigate how technology was being used by faculty
members at Ohio University and whether the use of technology supported educational
strategies for improving teaching and learning. The Flashlight Project provides a useful
approach and a tool for answering questions on technology use in education. Tuckman
(1994) and Dillman (2000) reported that one advantage of using a questionnaire is the
ability to reach a large number of respondents with little effort and resources. However
this approach is only useful if it collects the appropriate data.
The accuracy of any data collected will depend on the questionnaire items, their
precision, and how much they reflect the purpose of the study. The questionnaire should
not be constructed so as to open itself to various interpretations by readers; and should
reflect the researcher’s actual intention and not the thought of the respondents (Dillman,
2000). According to Cox (1996), “appropriate item formats not only add to the overall
quality of the instrument but also facilitate obtaining all necessary information in a short
period of time” (p. 8).
In order to obtain data to address the research questions, the Flashlight Faculty
Inventory (beta version) was considered. As intended by the Flashlight Project
developers, findings of educational research provide evidence and indirect indicators of
increased learning. They maintain that if certain educational conditions are met or
increased as a result of technology (e.g., active learning, faculty student interaction, and
rich and prompt feedback), then it is probable that learning outcomes have also improved
and technology has indeed enhanced the learning environment. The most important
assumptions underlying Flashlight’s design is that technology does not itself cause
changes in learning, rather it is the underlying pedagogy, and the instructional design of
the course that make the crucial difference in the learning environment. The Flashlight
Faculty Inventory uses as its basis a set of knowledge principles of learning, which are
closely allied and overlap with the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate
Education (Taylor & Eustis, 1999).
The Flashlight Faculty Inventory itself is a item bank of 173 survey items and is
indexed according to technology and educational issues. As suggested by Ehrmann and
Zuniga (1999), as designers of the inventory, researchers may select, add or modify the
items and interview questions from the survey to create their own. Items in the Flashlight
Faculty Inventory are categorized into three parts: Part I-Educational Strategies; Part II-
Experience with Technology, and Part III-Academic and Demographic Information.
Part I strategies are divided into two subcategories: (a) Teaching and Learning
and, (b) Teaching and Learning with Technology. The former subcategory is a survey
section comprised of 53 items regarding the prevalence of various teaching and learning
practices based on the Seven Principles for Good Practices in Undergraduate Education.
The latter subcategory is a survey section comprised of thirty (31) items. These items
address how various teaching and learning practices are either facilitated or hindered by
the use of technologies such as audio conferencing, commercial software, courseware,
electronic communication, calculator, Internet, multimedia, televised lectures, video, and
voice mail. All the items in Part I contain a code identifying the issues each item is
intended to address. In some cases, an item may be classified according to more than one
code (Appendix B)
Part II (Experience with Technology) is also divided into two subcategories: (a)
Technology Use, and (b) Technology Sophistication. The first subcategory is a survey
section composed of 53 items. These items ask the instructors to indicate the number of
courses in which technologies were used for instruction. The second subcategory is a
survey section composed of 20 items on self-rating of skill in performing certain tasks
(e.g., to send and receive email, create and edit a web page).
Part III (Academic and Demographic Information) includes seven items which
explore factors about the faculty such as highest degree earned, employment status,
academic rank, and number of years as faculty member in an institution; six additional
items inquire about optional demographic information including age, sex, and race.
Flashlight Faculty Inventory has a reliability of .85 (Ehrmann & Zuniga, 1997).
Thirty-eight items from the Faculty Inventory were mailed to Group I faculty
members at the Athens campus along, with a written instruction sheet (Appendix A).
According to Cox (1996), it is important to provide clear instructions to respondents, as
incomplete directions may also result in a poor response rate. Clear and explicit
directions help to ensure that respondents will find the questionnaire easy to complete,
and hence increasing the chance of a higher return rate (Dillman, 2000). The descriptive
analysis of the research questions were used to present the findings of the study, and
propose recommendations and suggestions for further research and practice.
Validity and Reliability of the Instrument
The credibility of any study depends on the quality of the instrument. The best
way to confirm credibility is to precede the main study with a pilot study which examines
the performance of the instrument (Light et al., 1999). The value of any questionnaire or
survey is limited by how it can measure what it is supposed to measure (validity) and
whether the results remain unchanged when the conditions remain unchanged (reliability)
(Ehrmann & Zuniga, 1997).
Validity is an essential part of quantitative measurement as it assures that the
variables measured are indeed those which the researcher intends to measure (Thyer,
2001). The dimensions of validity are classified into: face validity, content validity,
construct validity, and criterion related validity. Face validity considers the look of the
instrument contents; to claim face validity of an instrument implies that the items appear
to be logically related to the construct which the instrument is intended to measure
(Cournoyer & Klein, 2000). Anastasi (1988) reports that such a claim is believed to be
very subjective and not very helpful and suggests that content validity, which has some
elements of face validity, is more helpful. Anastasi defines content validity as the
evaluation of the items of a measure to determine whether they are representative of the
domain that the measure is intended to examine
After appropriate content domains have been identified for inclusion with the
specific indicators which reflect those domains, the researcher must address the issue of
measurement consistency, or reliability. Cournoyer and Klein (2000) define reliability as
the consistency of a measure; that is, the tendency to obtain the same result when the
same phenomenon is measured under different conditions, including different indicators,
observers, and settings or over time. According to Cournoyer and Klein, measures of
reliability are intended to estimate the proportion of scores that reflect the “true” value of
the characteristic measured, in contrast to the portion of a score representing random
error. They argue that reliability is a necessary but not sufficient precondition for all
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