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Lack of experience

Miller talked about difficulties some of the students had with learning to use Online Day:

I would say the start up for about 5 of the 25 students was a little rough. They were pretty panicky, pretty scared when they couldn’t post or when they had a cookie that wouldn’t allow them to do anything and they couldn’t get the videos, so that was a problem. I don’t think we really had any others. I think once everyone was able to access the videos and do their postings it was very smooth. And because it’s hybrid, because they come in every week, every other week, any time they have a problem it’s really fairly quick to deal with it.

Miller’s solution to the students’ problems was reactive rather than proactive. Rather than preparing the students for possible problems and how to cope with them, she addressed technology problems that students had encountered in class. Although the students learned how to function within the system over time, there were times that they had to wait a week until the next class meeting to get help with the technology, and experienced some frustration in the process.

Instructors’ technology support

Ed did not have the technical skills needed to teach an online course. However, he was able to teach online because he had the support of dedicated technical staff who worked with instructors who teach online. Ed had high praise for the technology expert, Tim, who worked with Ed extensively. Tim not only filled in the course webpage template for Ed using Ed’s syllabus, but he also communicated with the publisher’s technical staff to solve problems for Ed and the students. Ed recounted his relationship with Tim:

The guy’s personable, he’s helpful, you can’t offend him, he works well, and he solves problems very quickly. And I would say I probably could not have done this without him. So technical support, unless you are a master at programming and online instruction, you’ve got to have the technical support in-house. I couldn’t have done it otherwise.

Although Laura and Miller were new to using any kind of course management system, they showed determination to learn to use Online Day by making use of tutoring over the phone provided by the publisher. This service was offered to all the adopters of the Online Day material, as well as the direct phone number to the company who created the software. The tutor coached them in filling out the website class template as well as posting their assignments and the course syllabus.

Levels of technology integration

The burning issue in this study was to what degree the instructors integrated this new technology with their teaching. In this section I have used two instruments to inform my development of tables of the participants’ levels of technology implementation. The first chart was created using the Levels of Use of an Innovation which is part of the Concerns Based Adoption Model, or CBAM ( Hall&Loucks, 1977 ). CBAM is a well established measurement of technology adoption by teachers in K-12 education which has been effectively used in educational research over the past 31 years. The second chart is one I created by listing some major components of the Online Day website. It clearly shows how many of the components were used by each participant to indicate their levels of technology integration.

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Source:  OpenStax, Faculty use of courseware to teach counseling theories. OpenStax CNX. Oct 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11130/1.1
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