Showing posts with label 52 Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 52 Challenge. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Article Summary #23: Examining Herzberg’s theory: Improving job satisfaction among non-academic employees at a university

Citation:  Smerek, R., & Peterson, M. (2007). Examining Herzberg’s theory: Improving job satisfaction among non-academic employees at a university. Research in Higher Education, 48 (2), 229-250.

Summary:  Understanding and designing to optimize human capacity in higher education is a challenging obstacle when looking toward operational staff at a given university.  Herzberg’s duality their offers interesting insights but has yet to be actually proven sufficiently in general and less so within higher education.  Given the limited resources available in higher education, administrators must find ways of increasing job satisfaction to avoid the financial and human-resource loss of productive employees.

Word cloud of article summary
This study studies the how Herzberg’s duality theory of motivators and hygiene might be useful to understanding and applicable to job satisfaction in higher education among business operational staff at a large public university.  In particular, the authors seek to explore the following considerations:  the influence of personal and job characteristics on job satisfaction, the greatest predictors of job satisfaction, and the ability to prove Herzberg’s theory in a higher education context.

This study consisted of a (mostly) online survey of 109 Likert-scale-like questions to 36 units under an executive vice president at a large, public research university with 2180 (79%) business operational employees responding.  

The authors revealed some general results about the survey including women were more satisfied than men in this area of higher education, while minorities reported less job satisfaction and older employees were better adjusted to their jobs and received more intrinsic value from their work.  Some positions and groups reported less satisfaction than others such as people facilities and operations and in particular, those in unions, who averaged lower positive responses in all 13 work environment dimensions explored in the survey (though salary had the smallest margin of difference).   The authors conclude that work environment factors prove more predictable to job satisfaction than personal characteristics with the work itself holding the most predictive power.  

Practical implications for this study include a need for administrators to focus on improving the work itself and a need to improve management through further development of communication, management, and decision-making skills with training.  This research’s theoretical implications highlight that Herzberg’s theory still proves not entirely perfect for applying to higher education and that being mindful of research design and methodology because it effects the research results in ways that seem to reinforce the researchers’ ideas rather than help distil accurate answers.  As Marshal McLuhan may have put it, “the methodology is the message.”

Keywords:  job satisfaction, quality of worklife, work climate, administrative staff, Herzberg, dual theory, motivation, motivators and hygiene  




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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Article Summary #22: Race and the Effects of Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship

Citation: Cornwell, Christopher and David Mustard. 2002.  “Race and the Effects of Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship.” Pp. 59-72 in Donald Heller and Patricia Marin (Eds.), Who Should We Help? The Negative Social Consequences of Merit Scholarships. Cambridge: Civil Rights Project, Harvard University.  http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED468845 
Word cloud of article - Race and the Effects of Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship

Summary:  Georgia's HOPE program provides a large amount of money for Georgian students to attend colleges and universities within Georgia (surpassing the amount of PELL money students in the state receive).  The merit-based program is split between scholarships for students attending degree-granting 4-year institutions and grants for students attending largely technical schools.  This chapter explores how despite the increase in students meeting the merit-requirements to qualify for the lottery to receive the scholarship or grant and entering college, it is contributing to stratification of race by institutional type. HOPE incentivizes top students to stay within state and even for students to go to 4-year schools when they might have initially gone to a 2-year institute since the costs are compared if one receives the scholarship.  In fact, growth in college rates since the introduction of HOPE has been entirely at the 4-year institutes.  Much of this increase has been students who would typically go out of state for education, staying in Georgia.  The HOPE program improved enrollments for African Americans at 4-year publics (21%) and privates (16%) but generally have much-lower enrollment rates than whites within Georgia.  However, much of that increase in state was a decrease in African American students attending HBCU's out of state.  African American enrollment at George's more selective colleges & universities during this time budged 4% between 1993 and 1998.  While there are clear shifts increases in white students attending colleges, the population shift for African Americans indicate that HOPE is only reinforcing stratification for African American students who do not have the academic merit to qualify for HOPE and are from lower-income households.  Ironically, the HOPE program primarily benefits middle and upper-class families but is funded by a lottery, which disproportionately come from low-income, poorly educated and African-American populations. In the end, the HOPE Program has encouraged Georgian students to stay within the state but by doing so, has also limited access for students, particularly African American students who have not achieved the qualifications for "merit" as dictated by the scholarship.


Keywords:  scholarships, HOPE program, Georgia, African Americans, merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, lottery





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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Article Summary #21: Redesigning for collaboration in learning initiatives: An examination of four highly collaborative campuses

CitationKezar, A. (2006). Redesigning for collaboration in learning initiatives: An examination of four highly collaborative campuses. Journal of Higher Education, 77 (5), 804-838.
Word cloud of Kezar - Redesigning for collaboration in learning initiatives

Summary:  The increased external pressure, the decrease in support, and the burgeoning research on collaboration encourage institutions to look internally at opportunities for cross-discipline, cross-departmental, and cross-function collaboration.  However, institutions are not set up to do this in a smooth or sustainable manner.  Few models exist to encourage collaboration within higher education, but there are models to borrow from in the corporate sector.  The study looks at four institutions that engage in collaborative activities to deduce how those institutions are using and adapting strategies that already exist and are promoted within corporate literature.  More specifically, this study looks at how institutions create the institutional context that fosters collaboration since little literature exists that addresses this issue and few institutions are able to do it successfully.Integrating interviews, document analysis, and observations, Kezar uses a case-study methodology, recognizing that there are few institutions that create a successful context to foster collaboration and therefore, it would be useful to have substantial details that can be derived through case-studies. The study chose four institutions that demonstrated numerous collaborations within the institution in the forms relating to:  "interdisciplinary teaching/research, learning communities, community-based learning, team-teaching, student and academic affairs collaboration, and cross-functional teams" (Kezar, 812) and based on four criteria:  number of collaborative initiatives, clear indication of restructuring the institute to make collaboration happen, reputation for collaboration, and perception of depth and quality of collaborations. One result from the research is that in order for institutes to foster collaborations, it needs to be a part of their mission, and that mission needs to be a clear and well-known or the mission needs to flexible to be inclusive of collaborations that meet the mission's other aspirations.  Another result illustrates the importance of fostering a strong campus network that exists outside of standardized central networks of the college.  These networks emerge largely from the institute providing many different social and professional opportunities for different campus representatives to be together and exchange ideas.  It was also helpful to have nodes in the campus who proved highly interactive with many other aspects of the college.  Other strategies included serving on campus governance, creating campus space for faculty besides offices, and increasing transparency and participation.  Institutions that were successful also made full use of cross-institutional teams, created centers or institutes to address collaboration, and addresses how such changes worked within the accounting, budgetary, and computer systems within the institute.  Finding direct and indirect ways of rewarding collaboration also increased participation.  Also, the leadership proved critical in emphasizing the need for collaboration throughout the institute. Any organization looking to foster collaboration should think strongly about whether it is trying to develop a collaborative institution or only looking to make collaboration an institutional norm as the implications for each will impact how the organization moves forward.  Institutions seeking collaboration should make sure that focus should include addressing the mission, the structure, and the rewards. Crafting a narrative about the importance of collaboration can be used internally but also address external pressures. Kezar also provides ten recommendations for institutions attempting to emphasize collaboration at their institutes.


Keywords: collaboration, restructuring, cross-campus, integrating resources, organizational structure, resource management, 



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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Article Summary #20: Conceptualizing change in the institutional diversity of U.S. colleges and universities

Citation: Morphew, C. (2009). Conceptualizing change in the institutional diversity of U.S. colleges and universities. Journal of Higher Education, 80 (3), 243-269. 
Word cloud of article: Conceptualizing change in the institutional diversity of U.S. colleges and universities

Summary:  The diversity of higher education in the United States has always been seen as important in contributing to matching students with the right learning environment, creating a more dynamic society, and reducing the chance for indoctrination.  Birnbaum's study (1983) of institutions from 1960 to 1980 indicated a shift towards homogeneity among institutions. Morphew starts with this study and looks to recreate it to understand what has occurred since Birnbaum's study, particularly the period from 1972 to 2002.  Morphew wants to see what type of changes have occurred to institutional diversity in higher education in the United States between 1972 and 2002 and whether institutional theory can shed any light on the changes or lack thereof.  Morphew builds a five-item matrix (including type, degree level, sex, size, and cost)  inspired from Birnbaum's approach and then uses it to organized institutional data (IPEDS and enrollment datasets from all 50 states) from 2,679 institutions in 1972 and 3,718 institutions in 2002-2003.  Institutional diversity didn't increase and on some measures it decreased but new institutional types did emerge.  There were also shifts among the most populated institutional types between Birnbaum and Morphew's results (e.g. the four types that were most populated 1972, were not found among the most populated in 2002).  Morphew concludes that because there is little change during an arguable period of change (see below), then population ecology theory fails to provide an adequate explanation.  Instead, he believes that institutional theory can be used to explain the lack of change when considering the concept of balance in which institutions do need to work to reflect the external ideas but must also work with internal entities that might resist (e.g. the faculty).  This potentially explains how for-profits which have less internal balance to maintain can gain traction in the higher education market because they can be more flexible.  Institutions with "highly institutionalized environments" are not likely to be capable of big changes but can only change incrementally because their existence relies on their stable identity.  

On a side note and critique of the article, Morphew identifies demographic changes between 1972 and 2002 as an indicator of a changing environment for institutions to respond to.  But I wonder if this is where the article actually falters.  Student growth is not necessarily the same as change.  After all, the growth of student population is a constant over the history of higher education in the 19th and 20th century.  Sometimes, it grows faster than other times, but it is still growth.   I would think subtracting this from the exploration might actually then require one to revisit and ask if there were large environmental changes between 1972 to 2002.  

I would be curious to see what that study would look like if it were between 1981 and 2016.   Morphew says that “"organizations in fields like higher education—where goals (e.g., educated students, knowledge) are hard to measure, technology (e.g., teaching) is unclear, and organizational actors are highly professionalized—are extremely susceptible to isomorphic forces.” (P. 248)  Given that we’ve seen an increase in easier-to-measure goals (through stronger calls for assessment as well as the rise of competency based and online programs that can better quantify actions to outcomes), teaching is becoming clearer (again through learning analytics, learning sciences, and easier means of seeing the interaction between students and learning objects in learning management systems), and a de-professionalization of organizational actors (adjunct faculty, courses where instructors only discuss and grade, but do not develop curriculum, and online courses, where much of what the instructor does is automated such as grading and lectures), I wonder if there would be increased diversity.  Beyond the rise of for-profit, we now have MOOCs, competency based learning, “boot camp” institutes, or other initiatives like the Minerva Project.

Keywords: higher education, institutional theory, population ecology theory, institutional change, environmental factors



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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Article Summary #19: On the making of hard times and good times: The social construction of resource stress

CitationNeumann, A. (1995). On the making of hard times and good times: The social construction of resource stress. Journal of Higher Education, 66 (1), 3-31
Word cloud of the article: On the making of hard times and good times

Summary:  Neuman explores how much of how college leaders—particularly presidents—are reacting to or shaping the experience of financially strapped institutions.  He recognizes that many institutes rely upon contingency theory in making financial decisions and determining the future of the college.  By solely approaching college finances without considering the role of social construction, Neuman believes that leaders may significantly add to the experience and the stress that a college community feels and thus acts upon because of those feelings.  
Neuman’s goal is “to turn from contingency theory to social constructivism as a vantage point for examining leadership and resource realities in higher education.”  He wants to provide an example of how a social construction theoretical approach would impact financial limitations at an institute.  Neuman is involved in the Institutional Leadership Project of the National Center for Postsecondary Governance and Finance, which included campus visits in the 1985-1986 and 1988-1989 academic years where he interviewed presidents, administrative leaders, trustees, faculty, and other important figures at eight colleges and focused on 2 colleges which he renamed Arcadia College and Industrial College.

The author found that while Arcadia College was economically sound, the methods of communication and action of the president led to everyone perceiving the finances as a threat whereas Industrial College continued to lose resources but because of the right amount of inclusiveness and action by the president, the angst about the finances of the college was less problematic.  From this, the author presented six propositions that came out of the research:

  1. Finances, though real, can fluctuate in how they form the social reality of a college campus.
  2. Angst about finances often come from a lack of knowledge about financial state of the college and what the leaders are doing.  How presidents communicate (that is, interpret) this to the communicate make add to the distress.
  3. Angst may occur, even when the president is pursuing ideas that are sound from a contingency perspective (e.g. fundraiser denotes a lack of funds).
  4. Presidents can create hope by having conversations and addressing what people know, believe and feel about the finances of the college as well as what the college's work and value really is.
  5. The president augments the social reality of the college through both complex decision making and staying committed to socially constructed values.
  6. Learning-related changes often tend to be interactive and dialogic and may influence the president as much as the community.

Though this illustrates how social construction theory can be used to beneficial ends, it could still be used for nefarious purposes.  While contingency theory can be useful, social construction theory connects us better with the values, intents, and experiences--the people and their lives.

Keywords: college presidents, social construction theory, contingency theory, college finances, college culture, leadership communication, resource stress



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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Article Summary #18: Reconsidering the role of recorded audio as a rich, flexible and engaging learning space

Citation:  Middleton, A. (2016). Reconsidering the role of recorded audio as a rich, flexible and engaging learning space. Research in Learning Technology, 24. http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/28035

Word Cloud of article Reconsidering the role of recorded audio as a rich flexible and engaging learning space
Summary:  This article looks at the role of podcasts in learning.  Specifically, it explores a case study of how recorded audio was used within a specific course and the different approaches to learning the it represented through a given course.  The first part of the article tackles the literature around learning and learning with sound.  Middleton explains there is a limitation in the technical definition of podcasts which focuses on how they are produced and released, especially when contrast with the pedagogical definition, which focuses more on the how recorded audio made easily available to students can be learned.  He emphasizes that recorded audio offers tone and academic flexibility that allows for more information and knowledge to be passed along more efficiently.  Finally, he distinguishes the different of recorded audio as just an extension or repackaged lecture and recorded audio as a means of going beyond the instructor, often by reaching out to other resources (other audio content or interviews), having student generate audio content, or recording sessions that are dialogic in nature.  Audio offers a highly flexible and portable format for learn objects to be created and to be processed.  He emphasizes that recorded audio should not be considered merely supplemental but as something central to learning.  His case study then highlights four ways that audio can be innovative within a course, which includes introducing new material, providing a bridge between class and other content or learning opportunities, an opportunity to relocate activities that would have taken up face-to-face time, and the ability to capture an activity for replay as well as for those who could not be there.

Keywords: learning activity, podcast, auditory learning, learning, pedagogy, active learning, lecture capture, educational technology




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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Article Summary #17: Performance Gaps between Online and Face-to-Face Courses: Differences across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas

Citation: Xu, D., & Jaggars, S. S. (2014). Performance Gaps between Online and Face-to-Face Courses: Differences across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas. Journal Of Higher Education, 85(5), 633-659.
Word cloud of the article: Performance Gaps between Online and Face-to-Face Courses

Summary: This article assessed the performance gap between F2F and online courses along ethnicity, gender, age, study, and academic preparation.  The authors used a dataset of 500,000 online and F2F courses and 40,000 students from Washington State's community college system. The results showed that enrollment patterns vary according to subject area (higher in humanities and social sciences, lower in sciences, math, and engineering).  The performance gap between online and F2F courses according to subject area was also identified, though education, mass communication, and health and physical education were not significant.  The authors revealed a 3% gap in completion and .20 difference in grades of the courses.  All subgroups studied showed negative outcomes in the online environment, but the size varied; men did worse than women and African Americans did worse than Asian-American students.  Older students did slightly poorer in F2F courses but slightly better in online courses than younger (24 and below) students.  Students with more academic preparation and stronger GPAs had less of a performance gap in online courses. Overall, the research suggests that gaps in the F2F are further extended in the online realm.  They recommend three possible approaches to address the gap:  screening, early warning, and scaffolding within courses.

Keywords: online education, nontraditional student, community college, access, performance gap, f2f vs online




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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Article Summary #16: The Representation of Minority, Female, and Non-Traditional Stem Majors in the Online Environment at Community Colleges: A Nationally Representative Study

Citation: Wladis, C., Hachey, A. C., & Conway, K. M. (2015). The Representation of Minority, Female, and Non-Traditional Stem Majors in the Online Environment at Community Colleges: A Nationally Representative Study. Community College Review, 43(1), 89-114.
Word cloud of article: The Representation of Minority Female and Non-Traditional Stem Majors

Summary: By analyzing a 2300 student data-set, this article examined what differences and similarities exist among community college STEM majors who enroll or not in online courses with particularly attention to ethnicity, genders, and student status (traditional vs. nontraditional) and whether there was proportional representation in the online courses.  This analysis was compared to another data-set of 18,400 STEM majors enrolled in four-year programs at public and not-for-profit colleges.  The analysis revealed that Hispanic students were less likely to enroll online courses at a community college than a four -year school while women were more likely to enroll at a community college than a four-year college.  The analyses showed that Black, Hispanic and White males and Hispanic females were underrepresented in online when compared to white females.  Nontraditional student status remained a strong predictor in enrolling in online courses.  The study showed that under-representation among non-white students exist in online STEM courses like online courses overall. Though the research captured discrepancies in online enrollment, it avoided diagnosing given that limited research has been done to capture the different populations and their reasons for taking online courses.  

Keywords: STEM, gender, community college, online education, ethnicity, nontraditional student



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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Article Summary #15: The Online STEM Classroom--Who Succeeds?

Citation: Wladis, C., Conway, K. M., & Hachey, A. C. (2015). The Online STEM Classroom--Who Succeeds? An Exploration of the Impact of Ethnicity, Gender, and Non-Traditional Student Characteristics in the Community College Context. Community College Review, 43(2), 142-164.
Word cloud of the article: The Online STEM Classroom--Who Succeeds

Summary: This study examined a data-set of 3600 students to understand how their performances in online and F2F STEM courses at Northeast Hispanic-serving community college to determine what factors (gender, ethnicity, and non-traditional student characteristics) correlate with the attrition gap.  They particularly targeted online and F2F courses taught by the same instructor to control for course and instructor variance.  The analysis suggested several points about online STEM courses:  men and older students do better than females and younger students, there was no significant correlation between ethnicity and success in online courses, and students exhibited different levels of success among the types of STEM courses (students fairing worse in math, computer science, and physical science than health and life sciences). When comparing performances in online vs F2F courses, they found: the success rate drops twice as much for women than men in the online environment, no difference in age-based success in F2F courses was present, but older students fair better, and though African-American and Hispanic students did significantly poorer in STEM courses in F2F courses, this gap was not widened in the online environment.  Other facets such as full or part time enrollment, financial aid beneficiaries, GPA or prior online experience did not predict performance differences in online and F2F courses.  The authors advocate for more research into understanding why and how students decide to take online courses and more effective advising and support for online students.  

Keywords: STEM, online courses, ethnicity, age differences, achievement gap, gender



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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Article Summary #14: Extending Campus Life to the Internet: Social Media, Discrimination, and Perceptions of Racial Climate

Citation: Tynes, B. M., Rose, C. A., & Markoe, S. L. (2013). Extending Campus Life to the Internet: Social Media, Discrimination, and Perceptions of Racial Climate. Journal Of Diversity In Higher Education, 6(2), 102-114.
Word cloud of article: Extending Campus Life to the Internet

Summary: This article explained the results of an online survey of 217 students (directed towards African American and European American students) with particular attention to attitudes and perceptions around racial groups, discrimination, and tension in the online and offline worlds and how such experiences and perceptions relate to campus racial climate.  The survey collected data on ethnicity, social media usage, school-related social media usage, network diversity in online and offline environments, online racial discrimination and stress, and racial climate. The survey revealed that European Americans had smaller degree of ethnically diverse interactions (14%).  African American students also engaged more intensely and with a wider range of people in the online world.  The results captured the discrepancy in exposure to race-related negative content that either group experiences with African Americans being exposed to much more negative content.   The results indicated that perceptions of campus racial climate are affected when students are the direct recipient of racially related interactions online.  The study noted that its work is still preliminary and more research into the analyzing online contexts and interactions. 

Keywords: campus climate, social network, online survey, African Americans, online vs. offline, 




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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Article Summary #13: The "Digital Divide": Hispanic college students' views of educational uses of the Internet

Citation: Slate, J. R., Manuel, M., & Brinson Jr, K. H. (2002). The "Digital Divide": Hispanic college students' views of educational uses of the Internet. Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education, 27(1), 75-93.
Word cloud of the article: The Digital Divide-Hispanic college students' views of educational uses of the Internet

Summary: The author identified a digital divide specifically for Latina/os populations in high school and explored how this divide impacts beginning Hispanic college students in terms of their computer and internet skillset and techno-disposition, with particular attention to gender, first generation college student status, and primary language at home.  They surveyed 226 Hispanic students at Southwestern university on topics including attitudes towards the Internet and its educational use, personal computer and Internet access and usage, personal learning experiences on the internet, frequency of Internet use, and demographic content.  The analysis revealed gender differences in terms of disposition, usage, value of information on the Internet, and educational benefits of the Internet.  The primary home language also correlated with techno-disposition, with a more positive view of technology if English was the primary language.  Additionally, students whose home language was Spanish were more likely to learn techno-skills outside of the home. Using a closed-question survey, the authors’ research is limited in understanding why these correlations exist and prevent from understanding how just differences are experienced by students.  


Keywords: Hispanics, Latina/os, digital divide, digital access, high school, college, techno-disposition, survey, college students, gender




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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Article Summary #12: The influence of techno-capital and techno-disposition on the college-going processes of Latina/o college students in Central Texas

Citation: Lu, C., & Straubhaar, J. D. (2014). The influence of techno-capital and techno-disposition on the college-going processes of Latina/o college students in Central Texas. Learning, Media and Technology, 39(2), 184-198.
Word cloud of the article: The influence of techno-capital and techno-disposition on the college-going

Summary: The authors pointed out that current research shows Latina/os have less access than whites and focused this qualitative study (20 semi-structured in-depth interviews with Latina/o students) on a predominantly white institution in Texas to understand how techno-capital and techno-disposition influence the daily lives and college-going process for Latina/o (particularly along class and gender lines).  The authors used the Bourdieu inspired term, techno-capital to capture the essence of access and knowledge to technology.  Techno-disposition refers to how one’s attitude towards technology. The interviews produced two major themes: complex dynamics between techno-capital and techno-disposition and differences in approaches and use of technology via gender.  Those without personal techno-capital were well aware of their digital divide and the digital expectations of their instructors.  Low techno-capital in high school resulted in further struggling in college.  Students’ techno-disposition along gender lines revealed women using technology more to connect, learn, and get help for their learning while men used it more for financial or business purposes. The study emphasized that those who have sufficient techno-capital were often oblivious to the struggles of those without it. It reinforced the role that parents, peers, and schools play in developing techno-capital in a student and highlighted the technology-skills assumptions colleges have about students despite their potential lack of techno-capital.


Keywords: Latina/o, techno-capital, digital divide, Bourdieu, techno-disposition, college, Texas, qualitative research, interviews, techno-assumptions




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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Article Summary #11: The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides

Citation: Lane, A. (2009). The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 10(5)

Word cloud of the article: The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides
Summary: This essay juxtaposed the potential of open educational resources (OER) with the limitations of the digital divide. The author explained the types of open (access, licensed, format, and software) and their inherent barriers that exist to actually appropriate them for learning. He addressed the numerous types of divides beyond digital (geographical, cultural, social, income, and physical. Lane posited that the digital divide is multi-layered, going beyond the access to computers and including access to the right networks, and technical skills divide.  Technical skills are not merely a simple set, but break down into basic, structural and strategic skills of operating in the digital world.  These digital literacies are in constant flux against a changing landscape of technology, making investing in technology and the learning even more challenging.  Lane then shifted into discussing the issue of OER being made available without necessarily a structured environment (e.g. classroom, real or virtual) to help navigate and articulate achieved learning.  Lane ended by highlighting that openness alone will not achieve its mission to enhance education for those who already have trouble accessing it.

Keywords: open educational resources, digital divide, open access, limitations of OER





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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Article Summary #10: Insisting on Digital Equity: Reframing the Dominant Discourse on Multicultural Education and Technology

Citation: Gorski, P. C. (2009). Insisting on Digital Equity: Reframing the Dominant Discourse on Multicultural Education and Technology. Urban Education, 44(3), 348-364.

Word cloud for the article: Insisting on Digital Equity
Summary:  Gorski argues for equity and social justice at the center of discussions with multicultural education and computer technologies in this essay. Using a multicultural education framework coupled with critical analysis, he illustrates the need for systematic and equitable education and resources for instructional technology. Gorski challenges the idea of computers and internet as equalizers, identifies ways in which computers and technology reinforce inequities, and shifts the dialogue from physical access to social, cultural and political access and what that would mean for those previously with limited or no access.  He examines different practices and biases in teachers and education that reinforce the different divides (racial, gender, linguistic, ability). He highlights specific actions for people committed to addressing multicultural education and substantive access.  These include regularly acknowledging digital inequities in dialogues about multicultural education and technology, advocating for computers and Internet access in education until there is equal access, recognizing digital inequalities as systematic issues, pushing for cost improvements for educational technology and training, requesting instructional technologists in every school, refusing to endorse popular websites until they are more equitable, remaining critical of arguments claiming technological process will create social, cultural, and human progress, and continually asking how the technologies can better secure equity and social justice in education.

Keywords: digital divide, digital equity, digital access, multicultural, social justice, instructional technology



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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Article Summary #9: Multicultural Education and the Digital Divide: Focus on Race

Citation: Gorski, P., & Clark, C. (2001). Multicultural Education and the Digital Divide: Focus on Race. Multicultural Perspectives, 3(4), 15-25.

Word cloud of the article: Multicultural Education and the Digital Divide

Summary: This literature review examined the racial digital divide through a sociopolitical, multicultural education framework to capture the implication of the divide and provide recommendations for improving access for racial minorities. The authors split access to computers and to the internet to show that even those with computers may still not have internet access, creating more divides. Even at schools, universal access to computers, never mind the internet, had not been achieved and access clearly correlated with racial make-up of the students. They identified trends in usage for students and teachers that reinforced Eurocentric views in classrooms and schools that further alienate racial minorities. The authors provided the following research-based tactics to help bridge the divide: computer loan programs, afterschool computer programs, making students and family aware of low-cost access companies, and more equitable distribution of computer resources in schools. They addressed the structural issues to move the focus from private investment to more investment in computer and internet access from the public and more specifically, universities.  Such an alignment could improve multicultural goals and help shape students' outcomes to better align with the higher education.  Finally, the authors considered the training and resources afforded educators and how to make them more multicultural-centered rather than Eurocentric including how and why they use computers and the Internet.   


Keywords: digital divide, racial digital divide, widening gap, multicultural education, home computer access, home internet access,  Eurocentric, teacher development, university alignment



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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Article Summary #8: The Digital Divide and First-Year Students

Citation:  Goodfellow, M., & Wade, B. (2007). The Digital Divide and First-Year Students. Journal Of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 8(4), 425-438.

Word cloud for article: The Digital Divide and First-Year Students
Summary: The authors explored the digital divide along lines of income, racial, and household type and its impact on first year college students.  888 students over three years at Penn State Schuylkill Campus filled out surveys  requesting demographics, technology access, and skill levels in the following domains: word processing, e-mail, Internet searching, library searching, computer-enhanced presentations, creating Web pages, and game playing.  The results highlighted differences that occurred over the three years.  Students surveyed in the third year reported increased access, improved word processing skills, and Internet-searching skills compared to students in the first year.  The authors noted that the improvement in skill accounts for potential changes in K-12 education to enhance technological exposure and skills.  However, students’ improvement did not indicate impressive returns as students reported being "unskilled" in word-processing (44%), Internet searching (26%), library searching (64%), and email (32%).  The article did not bring much to bear the breakdown of these skillsets and demographic differences.

Keywordsdigital divide, income divide, household divide, racial divide, Internet search, word processing, technology skills, email, presentations, library search, K-12 technology


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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Article Summary #7: Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access

Citation: Goode, J. (2010). Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access. Journal Of Higher Education, 81(5), 583-618.

Word cloud of the article: Mind the Gap
Summary:  Goode examined the relationship of a student's personal history computer access and skills development with how such knowledge impacts their educational pursuits. Her goal was to understand how lack of access and skillset can impede performance of low-income students in higher education.  She provided a technology identity framework which she used in her mix-methods research that includes surveying (512 respondents) and hour-long semi-structured interviews (3 respondents) at UCLA. The survey focused on home technology access, technology integration and access in high school, technological social/cultural capital, ability level on specific computer activities, UCLA's access and technology integration, and attitude towards technology.  Goode developed a technology proficiency index (TPI) to rate students answers.  Goode finds that though race is not correlated with TPI, it is correlated with other measures that are correlated with TPI.  She then showed some of the explicit racial and educational differences such as age-differences in first encountering technology, where technology was accessed, technological social capital access, and formal technological instructional.  Goode provided brief sketches of the three interview students to articulate specific ways in which divides and access limit or enhance the college experience.  The results indicate that level access and skills development prior to and during college impact the student's experience and development throughout college.

Keywordstechnology skills, digital divide, technology access, poverty, technology and identity, cultural capital, habitus, technology identity framework, mixed-methods research, semi-structured interviews, survey, technology proficiency index



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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Article Summary #6: Being Multiracial in a Wired Society: Using the Internet to Define Identity and Community on Campus

Citation: Gasser, H. S. (2008). Being Multiracial in a Wired Society: Using the Internet to Define Identity and Community on Campus. New Directions For Student Services, (123), 63-71.

Word cloud of the article: Being Multiracial in a Wired Society
Summary:  Gasser explored how multiracial students choose to develop and express their identities as well as form communities in the digital world through Web 2.0 resources, specifically social networking sites, wikis, and blogs.  In each case, Gasser explained how multiracial students might use the tool for further self-definition and dialogue.  Her research was largely preliminary, recognizing pockets of users that engage in identity dialogue and she drew simple conclusions from each without substantive examination.  She explained that given these spaces, monoracial and multiracial people are likely to seek out these places to find community.  She encouraged student affairs practitioners to actively use the online environments as another space for outreach and inclusiveness.  Additionally, she emphasized that graduate students in student affairs should more actively be introduced to Web 2.0 to be more prepared for current undergraduate students.  Gasser warned about three issues practitioners should be aware of when using digital outreach strategies:  digital divide, addiction, and privacy issues. 

Keywords:  multiracial, social networks, Web 2.0, student affairs, student outreach



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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Article Summary #5: Digital Unity and Digital Divide: Surveying Alumni to Study Effects Of a Campus Laptop Initiative

Citation: Finn, S., & Inman, J. G. (2004). Digital Unity and Digital Divide: Surveying Alumni to Study Effects Of a Campus Laptop Initiative. Journal Of Research On Technology In Education (International Society For Technology In Education), 36(3), 297-317.

Word cloud of the article: Digital Unity and Digital Divide
Summary:  The authors examined Grove City College’s laptop distribution program by surveying the alumni class prior to the initiative start (control group), and two classes within the initiative (treatment groups) to explore the impact on their education, technological skills development, and preparedness for work. The survey (212 out of 600 returned) included questions addressing Kolb's Learning Style Inventory to understand overall learning styles with computers. Laptop initiative alumni were more positive about levels of campus technology, though all three groups were dissatisfied with the level of technology-supported classrooms.  Results relating to alumni's beliefs about the importance of technology has played in their professional lives was ambiguous. The results also indicated that the curriculum did not necessarily reflect the technological changes on campus. The authors explored gender differences in the computer usage, addressing a previously-established digital divide between men and women. The initiative did not change such divides in areas of spreadsheets, presentations software, the Internet, and computer games but notably decreased the difference in word-processing and email. The attempt to align learning styles with computer usage became more complicated with aligning fields of study with learning style scores, and computer usage with little significant results.  The initiative made students feel prepared for a technology-driven work life but it did not change teaching and learning. 

Keywords: Kolb’s Learning Style, laptop initiative, teaching with technology, learning with technology, initiative impact, survey, 



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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Article Summary #4: The habitus of digital “strangers” in higher education

Citation: Czerniewicz, L., & Brown, C. (2013). The habitus of digital “strangers” in higher education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(1), 44-53. 

Word cloud of article: The habitus of digital “strangers” in higher education
Summary: This paper reported on phase three of ongoing research on “digital strangers” (college students under 22 lacking computer skills and out-of-school access), acquired through purposeful sampling for surveys and eventually, focus groups. The authors explored student's technological experience and usage through Bourdieu's concept of habitus, a frame that connects one's background with experiences to explicitly shape one's future. Since technology access impacts cultural and social capital, an absence of it, represents an absence of social and cultural capital. The group studied had access to cellphones but were rarely encouraged to view the cellphone as a learning tool. The authors illustrated that both within universities themselves and among students, the computer was given more respect than the phone (it holds symbolic and cultural value), though many functions can be completed on both.  Transference of skills and knowledge about the cellphone were typically not brought to the computer as participants first learned about and continued to use computers. The researchers advocated for institutions to optimize students' comfortability with phones to enhance learning and help students shift their cultural capital of their phones to computers. This report’s focus on transference still did not address the initial lack of access and skills. 

Keywordsdigital strangers, cultural capital, South Africa, transference, computer vs. cellphone, digital capital, habitus, Bourdieu



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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.