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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Sharon L. Peterson
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology
Title: Assessing Problem Solving Strategy Differences within Online and Face-to-Face Courses and Their Relationship to Pre-Service Teachers’ Competence and Confidence for Integrating Technology into Teaching
Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer, Chair
Dr. Robert Leneway
Dr. Howard Poole
Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
3306 Sangren Hall
This quantitative research study identifies the problem solving strategies pre-service teachers use in learning specific technology skills within an educational technology methods class that is offered both online and face to face. It also examines how such strategies differ by the format of this course, and to what extent these strategies and/or course format correlate with the students’ expressed level of confidence and competence to integrate technology into their future classroom settings. The study utilizes data extracted from surveys of over 1,500 students who had taken the educational technology methods course via an online or face-to-face format during one of 19 semesters at Western Michigan University.
Results reveal the majority of the online students (80%) and face-to-face students (67%) used the trial and error method for solving a problem. Students in the face-to-face courses also waited for the instructor’s assistance (78%) more than the online students (74%), while students in the online course asked a peer for assistance (83%) slightly more than the face-to-face students (81%). Also, online students (71%) used further reading to solve a problem more than face-to-face students (55%) in the online courses.
In reference to technology confidence and competence, this study reveals that the vast majority of students in both the face-to-face and online sections felt they could integrate technology into their teaching, teach such technology to others, and use technology in their future teaching. Some significant differences between formats were revealed. A larger portion (90%) of the students in the online course reported that they had more competence for either integrating technology into their teaching or teaching technology to others, when compared to the students (81%) in the face-to-face course. Also, more face-to-face students (79%) left the course feeling confident to use technology than face-to-face students (72%).
Further investigation reveals that the use of problem solving skills, especially using the trial and error method, can predict whether a student will feel competent or confident to integrate technology into their curriculum or teach it. Moreover, course format, online or face-to-face can predict whether more students will feel competent or confident after completing the course.