R. Marinho

Andrews University (UNITED STATES)
This paper discusses the challenge of faculty development to face an academic environment that is constantly changing, both conceptually and methodologically, due to the knowledge revolution provoked by the growing production of new technology applications. The study focuses on the level of resistance or acceptance of change by university faculty emphasizing in which ways their reaction to change and innovation can be understood by applying Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation Theory. Rogers’ (1995) theory makes a distinction between five adopter categories classified on the basis of their speed of adoption as follows: (a) innovators; (b) early adopters; (c) early majority; (d) late majority, and (e) laggards (Clarke, 1999). The main research question guiding the study was: How do faculty deal with change and innovation when learning instructional technology?

As a multiple-case study, this research employed a qualitative approach, with an in-depth look at the many factors influencing the way faculty approach instructional technology and the ways in which their learning can be successfully facilitated. Using a purposeful sample (Patton, 1990), ten participants were selected among faculty who attended a series of workshops and seminars in instructional technology, offered by a major public university in the United States over a one-year period. Several different data collection methods were employed. The basic method consisted of in-depth face-to-face semi-structured interviews with the participants, supported by follow-up email interviews. After transcribing the interviews, the data were stored and classified into different categories. Through this categorical aggregation (Creswell, 2008) a collection of statements was put together, along with ideas, and examples by the participants about their reaction to change in learning and interacting with instructional technology. The participants’ statements were classified to find relevant and meaningful points common to different cases.

The findings show that faculty resistance to change and their speed of adoption are directly impacted by their pedagogical beliefs regarding the role of technology in education, as the participants who held strong pedagogical beliefs in instructional technology as a learning tool were self-described as innovators while the ones who had negative attitudes towards technology tended to identify themselves as late majority or laggards. The study has practical implications for university administrators and faculty development coordinators in their effort to design developmental programs with a more holistic approach, including activities to address the benefits of technology in education.

Clarke (Ed.), A primer in diffusion of innovation theory. Retrieved April 20, 2009, from
Creswell, J. (2006). Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Patton, M. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. London: Sage.
Rogers, E. (1995). Diffusion of Innovations. New York: The Free Press.