Breakout Session

New Jersey Community College Faculty Assessment of Educational Technology

Track:  Assessment

Thursday, November 29th, 4:40pm-5:40pm

Currently, given the increase in educational technology online and in the classroom, pressure is being put on faculty at New Jersey community colleges to learn, create, and use educational technology.  Often recommendations for educational technology are based on expert opinion, or technical managers.  In contrast, the purpose of this study was to employ a research design using a quantitative survey instrument to determine faculty opinions of their assessment of educational technology.

 

John Sullivan
Professor
Raritan Valley Community College

Bio / Expertise:
Education:
Princeton University – Mid-Career Fellowship, 2008 – 2009
Nova Southeastern University – Ph.D., 1999
New York University – MA, 1977
Rutgers College – BA, 1974

Chair of the Computer Science Department (2005 – 2008)
Full Professor (2000) in Business/Computer Science

 

Presentation Content:
Description of activity, project, or solution:  This report is based on the findings from a survey of New Jersey community college faculty titled “Faculty Assessment of Educational Technology.”  The survey was conducted in the spring of 2012.  Survey Monkey Pro was used on a sample of 593 full-time faculty from 18 of 19 New Jersey community colleges from which there were 297 respondents.

Outcome:  Summary of key findings:  Technology Usage:  The majority of New Jersey community college faculty (57%) have never taken an online or hybrid course although the majority (62%) have taught an online or hybrid course.  Furthermore, 95% of faculty use technology in their instruction.

Web-based Education: Only 30% of faculty agree that Web-based distanced education methods are as effective as traditional (in person classroom) methods. By a 2 to 1 margin, faculty agree that a degree offered totally online is not of equal educational value to a degree offered totally online.  Furthermore, the majority of faculty (51%) agree that face-to-face instruction is imperative for effective instruction, and faculty who strongly agree are 6 times the number who strongly disagree.  In addition, most faculty agree online education saves money, increases enrollment, and helps student with accessibility, but they also agree that the advantage has more to do with increasing enrollment rather than student accessibility.

Plagiarism and Cheating: The majority of faculty (73%) agree that plagiarism has increased due to technology, and only 2% strongly disagree with this assessment.  In addition, the majority of faculty (79%) also agree that the potential for cheating on Web-based testing in distance courses concerns them with 0% strongly disagreeing.  The integrity of distance education will never be deemed as equal and as effective until educators can trust the modes of assessment.

Open Book Testing:  Again the majority of faculty (60%) do not agree that open book testing is of equal educational value as closed book testing taken in a classroom or a testing center.  This is an age old question that precedes technology, but is much more relevant now due to online testing.

Teaching and Instruction: Only 27% of faculty agree that faculty who teach online know how to teach online whereas 37% disagree.  The majority of faculty (58%) agree that teaching can be equally as effective whether or not a teacher uses electronic technology.  Surprisingly, 24% disagree that teaching can be effective without using electronic technology.  The overwhelming majority (83%) of faculty feel they will need to know more about technology to teach their classes in the future.  Last, when faculty were asked what technology had the biggest impact the Internet was first with 45% followed closely by learning management systems with 29%. Only 1.4% of faculty said mobile applications had a major impact on their instruction.

Interaction:  The vast majority of faculty (91%) agree that interactivity is imperative for online courses with only 1% disagreeing and 1% strongly disagreeing.  Faculty are split on whether publishers’ new online courseware (myITlab, myMathlab, myEnglishlab, etc.) decreases faculty interaction with the student.

Mobile Devices:  When faculty were asked if they use or will use mobile devices in their instruction,  42% of faculty believe they will, with 32% of faculty undecided and 26% of faculty disagreeing.  However, 78% of faculty agree mobile devices can be a distraction in the classroom.

Educational Technology:  Another surprising result was that 68% of faculty agree that social networking (Facebook, Tweeter, etc.) will not play a major role in their courses.  Furthermore, only 1.4% of faculty strongly agree and only 7.6% agree that social networking will play a major role in their courses, for a total of 9% of faculty agreeing that social networking will play a major role in their courses.  The majority (51%) of faculty will not be using educational games in their courses, and only 18% agree that they will.

Technology and Productivity:  Faculty are split when deciding whether they have lost a lot of time on some educational software that has not worked or helped their students with 47% disagreeing and 36% agreeing.   However, when it comes to technology increasing rather than decreasing the number of teaching preparation hours per week the majority of faculty 56% agree by twice the number of those who disagree.

Looking Forward: The majority of faculty (64%) anticipate that 34% or more of textbooks will be digital in the next five years.  In addition, 48% of New Jersey faculty agree that some instructors will be replaced by technology.  Furthermore, only 19% of faculty agree and 39% of faculty disagree that intelligent agents will have a major impact on their instruction.  The majority (56%) of faculty agree that due to the amount of information made available by technology, education will be more about processing, using, and storing information than memorizing and imparting it.

Importance or relevance to other institutions:  Some key findings follow:  The majority of New Jersey community college faculty have never taken an online or hybrid course, but the majority of faculty have taught one.  Yet from their experience they feel that most faculty do not teach online or hybrid courses correctly.  Clearly, more training in online pedagogy and technology needs to take place.  In addition, 95% of faculty use technology and agree they need more technology training overall even though many believe it may be over used.

The majority of faculty question online education and degrees as being of equal value to a traditional course or degree.  In addition, the vast majority of faculty question the integrity of web-based testing and agree plagiarism has increased with technology.  Colleges need to clarify why they are offering online and hybrid courses with many faculty thinking it is only to increase enrollment and be competitive.  The integrity of online testing needs to be improved and there are new technology services available that offer solutions.  The integrity of distance education will never be deemed equal to a traditional education until people can trust the modes of assessment.  Furthermore, even though open book testing precedes technology it is widely used in online education.  The vast majority of faculty disagree with this methodology and there needs to be an open discussion by faculty on this matter to learn, educate, and inform faculty about the pros and cons of this method or how to better implement open book testing.

Faculty agree that technology has increased their preparation time and over a third have lost a lot of time due to technology.  More time has to be spent on usability testing and training on how to use technology more productively.

Faculty agree digital textbooks are coming and faculty are going to have to adjust to new ways of instructional delivery.  Faculty are not concerned about intelligent agents yet many have a concern about students Googling to find homework answers instead of thinking. Last, faculty need to find how to deal with a development the majority agree with; i.e.,  that due to the amount of information made available by technology, education will be more about processing, using, and storing information than memorizing and imparting it.

 

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