Date of Conferral







Darci J. Harland


For online students to be engaged in learning process, best practices include teachers using appropriate technology. However, it is unclear how some teachers who initially face challenges to adopting new teaching technology have overcome those challenges, adjusted their instructional practices, and adopted innovative technology to successfully engage students online. The purpose of this case study was to describe how teachers overcame challenges of using instructional technology tools for online learning. Rogers’s diffusion of innovations theory and Kolb’s experiential learning model provided the framework for this study. The research questions explored why teachers initially resisted the use of technology tools in online courses, how that resistance reflected Rogers’ characteristics of innovation and what factors contributed to adoption of tools and reflected Kolb’s stages of experiential learning. Six community college online teachers, who successfully engage their students using tools external to their learning management systems and working at 2 sites in the Western United States provided insight through participant journals, interviews, and course reviews. Analysis involved open coding and categorization of emergent themes. Two key findings for this study emerged. Community college teachers who overcame barriers to integrate new online tools participated in diverse types of professional development and training. Factors that contribute to teachers’ willingness to adopt specific technology tools included convenience, interactivity, benefit to student learning, and applicability to real-life experiences. Results of this study may contribute to positive social change by supporting teachers with professional development to increase online student engagement, learning, and retention.