Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Abbie Brown

Abstract

College faculty members are often inadequately prepared to use technology in their classrooms. They often learn technology without institutional support, and without understanding technology's impact on student learning. As a result of these shortcomings, the use of technology in the college classroom is often not systematic or focused on improving learning. This study used a conceptual framework based on Wenger's learning community or community of practice idea. This study examined a Midwestern university where faculty made only limited use of classroom technology and did not demonstrate contemporary approaches to student learning. The study set out to determine the impact of technology-based faculty learning communities on student engagement. Five university faculty members served as research participants; all agreed to form a learning community and participate in a series of interviews that examined the impact of technology integration and the role of learning communities on adopting technology. Interview data were analyzed using an emergent and exploratory approach where themes and trends were identified through direct observation and examination of interview transcripts. One of the emergent themes was that increased faculty technology use depends primarily on positive prior experiences with technology. Another theme was that students' self-reported technology competency does not accurately reflect classroom uses, which may have a significant impact on educational technology integration strategies. The study's findings provide guidelines for a best practice model of faculty professional development to improve and enhance classroom learning with educational technology.