Date of Conferral







MaryFriend Shepard


The rapid growth of online learning fueled by technologies including course management systems (CMS) has transformed the traditional educational landscape. Little research shows why faculty members at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been slow to adopt this new teaching paradigm. This quantitative, nonexperimental study utilized Rogers's diffusion of innovation theory as the theoretical base. Research questions explored faculty perceptions of the CMS's attributes (relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, observability) and organizational support (policies, procedures, and norms) in order to predict adopter status. The study used a convenience sample of 137 full-time faculty from 3 public and 2 private HBCUs in the southeastern U.S. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. The findings provided evidence that faculty in different adopter categories have varying characteristics and needs related to adoption and use of the CMS. Predictors for innovators were compatibility and complexity; for early adopters, relative advantage, complexity, and observability; and for early majority adopters, the predictor was complexity. For late majority adopters, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability were predictors; and predictive attributes for laggards were relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, and organizational support. Several individual factors were significant for each adopter category. The findings may be used to promote positive social change by providing a means for administrators and faculty development staff to predict adopter levels in order to develop initiatives that address differences in adopter needs, thereby facilitating adoption of the CMS and online learning.