Date of Award

12-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Major

Instructional Technology and Educational Studies

Major Professor

Russell L. French

Committee Members

Edward L. Counts, Gretchen Whitney, Ralph Brockett

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to discover which technological delivery media (web-based, CD-ROM, PDF documents as downloadable files for print from the Internet) Alabama public school educators select most often for delivery of their own professional development, as learning modules, why they select them, and whether or not they prefer those modes of professional development to the more traditional modes previously experienced. There were 28 participants in this study.

The questionnaire which attempted to assess the role of the media for delivery of professional development learning modules was specifically designed for this research. Demographic information collected from the 28 respondents included grade levels of school, highest degree held, and years of teaching experience. The questionnaire also requested preferences regarding delivery of professional development including: 1) online, 2) CD-ROM, 3) PDF documents downloaded from the Internet, 4) staff development workshops (meetings, conferences, 1-2 day sessions), and 5) college or other formal classes. Descriptive statistics were used to identify patterns in the educators’ preferences and perceptions.

Major conclusions of the study were the following: 1) The medium selected most often was online (82% of respondents); 2) Reasons most often cited by respondents for selecting the medium: convenience and ease of access (64%), directed to use the that medium (73%), and control of time/schedule (50%); 3) Online delivery was the most preferred method of professional development, regardless of degree level; 4) For those with 5 years or fewer of classroom experience, online professional development and college coursework were equally as popular as formal college courses (40%); 5) For respondents with 6-10 years of experience, online delivery was the preferred mode (100% of respondents). A majority of respondents with 11 or more years of experience (57%) also selected online delivered as their preferred mode.

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