Hybrid Graduate Education: Assessing Student Comfort with Technology Interventions

By Martin Sivula.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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This pilot study examines a cohort of fourteen, doctoral, graduate students over the last year and one-half of their hybrid (both face-to-face and on-line) program. This study’s purpose was to determine their level of comfort with the new technologies (Web 2.0 software) both before and after intended learning interventions. Several theoretical models concerning technology users’ preferences, attitudes, tasks, Task-Technology Fit (TTF), and student engagement provided frameworks for a conceptual model for the eventual course design, assignments, and learning interventions (Hersey & Blanchard, 1977; Davis, 1986; Davis et al., 1989; Goodhue & Thompson, 1995; Zigurs & Buckland, 1998; Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). Students were assessed by an instrument both before and after this portion of their program using a summated “comfort” scale over the technology interventions used in the program. Instrument reliability of .82 was estimated using the Guttman Split-Half Method. Overall results over nine technology areas: before (M = 32.29, SD = 7.18) and after (M = 39.93, SD = 5.42) revealed more comfort over time and technology use (p <.01). At the single item technology level, greatest increases in comfort were with instant messaging (1.07, d = .88), online chat (1.07, d = .86), online discussions (1.14, d = 1.04), talking with people over the Internet (1.78, d = 1.39), and videoconferencing via the Internet (1.57, d = 1.10). Mature adult learners can embrace technology to accomplish tasks in the educational environment. Planning, course design, syllabus construction, and appropriate learning interventions are critical for program success. Once “comfort” with the technologies has been established at both the individual and group levels, task performance increases.

Keywords: Graduate, Hybrid, Education

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.35-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 532.166KB).

Dr. Martin Sivula

Professor, Director of Research, School of Education, Johnson & Wales University, USA

Dr. Sivula is a former Director of Academic Computing and is a Certified Data Educator. In the early 1990s he served as a quantitative researcher and data analyst for the Public Education Fund study of the Providence (RI) Public Schools, which produced the Providence Report on Blueprint for Education (PROBE) Study (1991-1995). From 1994 through 2000 he served as a researcher and grant administrator for the Health Education Leadership for Providence (HELP)…an organization to implement technology applications into the Providence Public Schools. Since 1999 he has served as a PT3 grant evaluator for Wheelock College (Boston, MA) Technology implementation and capacity building efforts. He is also active in faculty development and college teaching, presenting a study to the American Evaluation Association (AEA) November 2002, Washington, D.C., entitled: “Using Factor Analysis to Determine Construct Validity on a Student Evaluation of Faculty Instrument.”