Diffusion of a telecommunication and computing innovation at Waldorf College

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Hanson, Daniel
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Michael R. Simonson
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Curriculum and Instruction

The major purpose of this study was to determine the relationships, and how they might change over time, between student perceptions of institutional innovativeness, individual innovativeness and computer anxiety and the diffusion of laptop computers and network access use among students in a small two-year college with a focus on the liberal arts. A second purpose of this study was to provide an investigation and a description of the easily available computer and network learning environment infused at the college;Participants in the study were two groups of Waldorf students. Data were gathered from one group of 216 students after they had experienced the laptop computer and network technology for one school year at Waldorf College. Data were gathered from a second group of 270 students as they entered the College the next academic year and before they had used the available technology extensively. A survey was used to collect data about student demographics, past computer experience, technology use patterns, perceptions of effectiveness of technology for learning, perceived organizational innovativeness, perceived individual innovativeness, and computer anxiety. Focus group discussions were used to provide a more in-depth look at student use patterns and perceptions about the effectiveness of technology for learning. Data were summarized to provide a description of the environment and were compared and correlated to identify relationships among variables. The results from this study provide guidance for educational institutions that plan extensive implementation of computer and network technology. It may be especially useful for small two-year private liberal arts colleges;These results show that the use of technology resources will diffuse quickly and will be used extensively among college-age students; and that these students expect that technology will be used effectively for both instruction and learning in higher education. To take advantage of this technology and student readiness to use the technology, faculty members need faculty development opportunities, time and support. The results of the study also show that computer anxiety decreases as students use the technology and that students who rate themselves as more innovative report less computer anxiety.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1998