Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly D. Bradley

Abstract

The study explored the faculty adoption and use of a Blackboard at a community college in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. A cross-sectional survey design was constructed through the lens of Rogers’s Perceived Attributes of Innovations and Chickering and Ehrman’s Implementing Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever to investigate perceptions and opinions on faculty members’ use of Blackboard in their courses. The survey was piloted, modified and deployed to a population of 932 central Kentucky community college faculty who were recruited to participate in the online survey. Descriptive demographic items (gender, age, highest degree attained, years of teaching experience, employment status, and category of instruction) were cross-tabulated with users and nonusers of Blackboard. An additional cross-tabulation was performed on faculty who did and did not teach online. A Rasch analysis with Differential Item Functioning (DIF) was used to evaluate responses to the perceived attributes and opinions about the use of Blackboard. The Rasch model was employed since the model assumes that each person is characterized by ability, that each item of the survey is characterized by difficulty and that the results of differences in the probabilities of items and responses follow along a line. Misfit of items and faculty did occur and quality control measures were applied to the collected data. A Z-Residual table for the dichotomous items was applied to remove responses that were extreme or greater than 2 ZSTD. An Outfit plot for polytomous items was utilized to remove faculty responses above 3 ZSTD. Some items were determined to be redundant according to the Wright maps and Infit/Outfit tables. The results indicated 2 or 3 levels of discrimination in person reliability and an item separation that allowed an analysis of groups. Rogers’s perceived characteristics that persuade people to adopt a new innovation were indicated as differences between users and nonusers of Blackboard. In contrast to a previous study, those faculty who responded to the survey with 0-1 years of teaching experience had the greatest ratio of nonusers to users. Those respondents who associated their teaching to categories of pre-college and language had more nonusers than users of Blackboard. An overall theme where nonusers agreed more than users was the lack of seeing Blackboard, observing how to use Blackboard and not being able to properly try Blackboard. But users should also be encouraged to expand their use of Blackboard. The majority of users employed: syllabus, announcements, full grade center, course copy, and test and survey pool, but less than half who responded as users employed: discussion board, course calendar, and performance dashboard which may lead to increased communication between the faculty and students. The information obtained from the survey should be utilized when developing professional development activities to encourage Blackboard adoption and use. By studying the adoption and utilization of Blackboard by faculty through the lens of Rogers, the study highlighted differences in the characteristics that persuade faculty to use Blackboard. Through consistent utilization of course management systems, such as Blackboard, the hope is that communication between students and faculty will be enhanced which will ultimately help students to grow, develop and learn.