Differences in university teaching after Learning Management System adoption: an explanatory model based on Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior

Stefano Renzi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated abstract] Current literature about university teaching argues that online teaching requires online social learning based on social interaction to be effective. This implies a shift in pedagogy based on engagement and collaboration, instead of trying to reproduce face-to- face teaching, in online environments. However, when a university adopts an elearning platform (or Learning Management System, LMS), most teachers tend to reproduce their traditional teaching, delivering, through the LMS, educational material. This study explored factors which influence university teachers to adopt teaching models based on online social interaction (OSI) when an e-learning platform is used to complement undergraduate classroom teaching. Online teaching model adoption was considered in the framework of technology adoption and post-adoption behavior, i.e., adoption and use by individuals after an organization has adopted an ICT-based innovation (Jasperson, Carter, & Zmud, 2005). Behaviors were investigated using a model based on Ajzen's (1991) Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). In total, 26 university teachers 15 from Australia and 11 from Italy holding undergraduate courses, were recruited. They responded to a semi-structured interview based on the TPB, built on purpose for this research. Teachers were divided into three different groups on the basis of their approach to online teaching, corresponding to three different levels of adoption of OSI. The three different online teaching models were: "Teaching material upload", teachers mainly use the LMS to upload teaching material; "Online discussion", teachers make a discussion forum available to foster learning through OSI-based activities but do not incorporate its use in the formal course design; and "CSCL", teachers integrate collaborative learning activities based on OSI in the course design. Data analysis was qualitative. The study shows that teachers in the CSCL group believe in the value of integrating classroom and online teaching while, for the Online discussion group, online teaching represents a complement to classroom teaching. ... Teachers who adopt teaching material upload, instead, are less confident about LMS use and have a strong preference for face-to-face teaching. These results cannot be explained by different levels of interest in teaching as all interviewees have a strong positive attitude to teaching, nor by environmental conditions (e.g. support and training available from universities), nor by different national education systems. Instead, it seems that personal skills (obtained, for example, through formal education in pedagogy, training in university teaching, or school teaching experience combined with confidence with technology) influence the adoption of the CSCL teaching model. In the framework of technology adoption and postadoptive behavior, the Teaching material upload and Online discussion teaching models are used to automate teaching tasks, while CSCL teachers have transformed their teaching. This study demonstrates that the adopted theoretical framework was able to highlight substantial differences in attitudes, social influence, and perceived behavioral control among the three groups for online teaching and social learning activities based on OSI. More studies are needed to investigate migration from one teaching model to another over time.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008

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