The Effects of Faculty Status, Faculty Gender, Field of Study, and Class Size on the Use of Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards

The Effects of Faculty Status, Faculty Gender, Field of Study, and Class Size on the Use of Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards

Dazhi Yang (Department of Educational Technology, Boise State University, Boise, ID, USA) and Caile E. Spear (Department of Community and Environmental Health, Boise State University, Boise, ID, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTE.2017040105
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This study examined faculty's use of time intensive Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, discussion forums, and wikis) in teaching during a university's quest for higher research productivity and higher ranking in the Carnegie Classification. Results show there was a difference in using Web 2.0 technologies in teaching between faculty with different status (tenure track and non-tenure track), male and female instructors, and among faculty members in different disciplinary areas. The study also reports how class sizes impacted faculty's use of time-consuming technologies in teaching across disciplines. Findings indicate the importance of planning and building technological changes and integration into an organizational strategic planning process to ensure continuing and effective integration of technology in teaching.
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Literature Review

Gender Difference in Using Technology in Teaching

Previous studies on gender and the use of technology concluded significant gender differences regarding participants’ attitudes toward technology and their knowledge of how to use it, both favoring males over females (Chen, 1986; Shashaani, 1994). Young (2000) has found that males usually report greater interest and being more knowledgeable about technology; Bain and Rice (2006) have indicated that the reverse is true as well - females generally perceive technology as less interesting and more difficult to use. More recent studies have found that this gender gap is closing (Davis & Davis, 2007; Ono & Zavodny, 2005). The closing gender gap may be due to the fact that technology has become an integral part of our daily lives at an earlier age (Cardwell-Hampton, 2008).

Like everyone else, university faculty are also influenced by gender norms. It is a reasonable speculation that gender differences impact faculty’s attitudes and practices regarding the use of technology in the classroom. In fact, Spotts, Bowman, and Mertz (1997) found that there are gender differences among female and male faculty in higher education in terms of self-rated knowledge and practice with technologies in teaching, with male faculty having higher computer self-efficacy, empowering them to utilize more technology (Kim, 2010). However, in a study by Peluchette and Rust (2005), male faculty, in general, showed a greater preference not to use technology in the classroom despite reporting to have more competence and comfort with it.

At the same time, Kim (2010) has found that female faculty tended to use less web-based resources in their teaching than males, which might be because more females feel less competent and less comfortable with computers. Lane and Lyle (2011) have observed that, in practice, female faculty sought out support from friends and colleagues when they needed help while male faculty utilized trial and error to solve problems or turned to online sources. Furthermore, female faculty are more likely to use technology due to perceived pressure from supervisors and peers (Lewis, Fretwell, Ryan, & Parham, 2013). They also tend to focus on instructional strategies first and technology second whereas male faculty do the opposite (Campbell, 2002). This different gender approach toward the use of technology in teaching may lead to more effective technology integration by female faculty.

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