Date of Award

12-2001

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Human Ecology

Major Professor

Gregory C. Petty

Committee Members

Ernest W. Brewer, Jacquelyn O. DeJonge, Gene A. Hayes

Abstract

As the use of online instruction continues to rise in post-secondary education and corporate training, a better understanding of one's beliefs, attitudes, and confidence regarding online instruction is necessary to increase the quality and effectiveness of online instruction. This study investigated self-efficacy beliefs related to online instruction. Self-efficacy, a psychological construct, is defined as self-appraisal of one's capabilities to plan and undertake a course of actions required for a specified task.

The objectives of this study were to (a) develop a survey instrument to measure the psychological construct of self-efficacy related to online instruction; (b) identify the salient factors of online instruction self-efficacy through the use of exploratory factor analysis; and (c) determine the significance of subjects' demographic variables in relation to online instruction self-efficacy beliefs.

To accomplish these goals a theoretical model of the online instruction self-efficacy was developed based on a review of literature and expert review and used to create an assessment of online instruction self-efficacy beliefs termed the Tennessee Online Instruction Survey (TOIS). The TOIS was examined for face validity, pilot tested, revised, and finally tested with a sample of 762 electrician instructors from the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) during their National Training Institute (NTI) in August 2001.

Exploratory factor analysis resulted in a three-factor solution that accounted for 68.7% of the variance found in the sample data and provided an interpretable theoretical model of online instruction self-efficacy. Internet/technology behaviors, collaborative behaviors, and individual behaviors were the three underlying factors found for this data set. MANOVA procedures and the Tukey-Kramer post-hoc test were used to examine the significance of several demographic variables in relation to reported self-efficacy beliefs.

It was concluded that the goals and objectives set for this study were met. Though requiring additional testing and refinement, the TOIS offered high internal reliability and content validity, and was concluded to be a reasonable psychometric assessment tool for online instruction self-efficacy.

The three-factor model of online self-efficacy found through exploratory factor analysis in this study must be refined and validated with other populations to gain a greater understanding of the usefulness of the TOIS to educational practice. Additional findings, conclusions, implications, and recommendations regarding this instrument and population are also discussed.

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