The following is an attempt to expand upon a mention in the last post about exploring one set of thoughts about why/how we might extend/reuse/build upon some prior research using TAM (Technology Acceptance Model) and its application to understanding the use (or not) of Online Assignment Submission and Management (OASM) in higher education.
- In 2005, we published a couple of papers (Behrens et al, 2005; Jones et al, 2005) in which the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis, 1989; Venkatesh et al, 2003; Venkatesh & Bala, 2008) was used to explore why an increasingly widely used online assignment submission and management tool (OASIS) was successful.
- In 2009/2010, that system was replaced as part of an project to adopt a single LMS (Moodle) that was designed to provide “appropriate support for staff and students to access and use ICT effectively in learning and teaching” (Tickle et al, 2009, p. 1040)
- There have been mixed messages about the success of that project. For example, Tynan et al (2009) suggest this
It is probable that since the institution had undergone a large review and renewal of technology in the learning management system where processes to support academics were put in place and where academics were included in decision making and empowered to change and upskill, negative attitudes towards the general impact of technology were not an issue for staff. One can hypothesise that these issues were principally resolved.
. While Rossi and Luck (2011) report on a range of issues with the transition including a significant loss of functionality in terms of online assignment submission and management.
There have also been some significant anecdotal comments about issues with the Moodle OASM functionality with large classes.
- It’s now 3/4 years since the implementation of Moodle. Now would appear to be a good time to explore the usage of the Moodle OASM functionality and the perceptions of the teaching staff. This would enable some comparison with the earlier findings from the 2005 work. Especially given findings from this work
The study concludes that staff perceptions have indeed changed and whilst more staff are using online systems for assignment submission, marking and feedback, many do not have a positive attitude towards it. This could be explained by the increased prevalence of available systems and tools alongside their mandated presence.
but at the same time “but students wholeheartedly in support” of OASM.
There’s a bunch of stuff to unpack here, an initial start includes
- The original OASM system was entirely optional. There was no perception that OASM was compulsory or mandatory in the early noughties. As Huber (2013) suggests there is a growing trend toward the expectation or the explicit mandating of OASM. TAM research suggests that optional and mandatory adoption decisions have different impacts/factors.
Is OASM now seen as mandatory?
- What is the actual use of OASM?
We can use “learning analytics” to examine the trends in adoption and use. We did this in 2009 (Beer et al, 2009). The image below (click on it to see it larger) compares the use of “evaluating students” features between the institution’s prior LMSes: Blackboard and Webfuse. “Evaluating students” includes both OASM and quizzes. The purple and green lines indicate the max/min adoption rates expected for this feature from Malikowski et al (2007).
- The impact of prior use.
As Huber (2013) suggests OASM is increasingly more widespread. Obviously, prior experience with OASM will influence perceptions (versions of TAM suggest this as well). But will there be a difference between people who have used the Webfuse OASM system and those who have used other systems?
- What are the factors that impact perceptions.
The free text responses we focused on in earlier papers are useful for identifying what it is that people like (or don’t) about these systems. This could be interesting.
- How specific do we get?
Huber (2013) draws on surveys that are much more explicit in exploring different uses of OASM. The TAM survey is more generic and open ended. What’s the right mix?