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Online Education in Universities: Moving from Individual Adoption to Institutionalisation of an Information Technology Innovation
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Informatics.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis describes and analyses the move from individual adoption to institutionalisation of an information technology innovation: online education in universities. The study focuses on the processes that took place within two universities, one in Sweden and the other in Argentina, regarding online education adoption and the organisational changes developed.

The aim is to contribute to the understanding of individual and organisational strategies for the institutionalisation of the innovation. To achieve this aim, three research questions were posed. The first focused on the way in which teachers influence the adoption processes. The next addressed the changes and interactions at the individual and institutional levels resulting from these processes. The third question deepened into the methodological practices that can harmonise stakeholders‟ objectives and the conflicting interests regarding online education initiatives. Innovation theory, complemented with organisational theories provided the foundation for the description and analysis of the information technology innovation and the adoption processes.

The results of analysing and interpreting the collected data from the two universities in two different countries (Sweden and Argentina) showed that the adoption processes appeared to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The iterative nature of the appropriation and the constant “newness” of the information technology innovation may be plausible explanations for the phenomenon. Though the change has not yet become an integral part of the formal core of the institutions, it has been a great achievement considering the universities‟ structure, culture and resources.

The contributions provide complementary and pluralistic insights into the research field of Information Systems, for both theory and practice, as well as into higher education managers‟ decision-making. Furthermore, the knowledge contribution of the thesis could be applied to implementation of information technology innovations in other organisations with similar characteristics as the studied higher education institutions. Such characteristics are, for example, to be complex and knowledge intensive.

Interactions at macro and micro organisational levels could be modelled as the cyclic linkage between sensemaking outcomes and institutionalized structures. A higher level of theorization resulted in a meta-theory model to describe and explain the linkage itself within the perspective of adaptive structuration theory.

Regarding practice, scholar-engaged research allowed conflicting interests to be reconciled by changing the existing practices through sensemaking and negotiation among stakeholders in an ongoing implementation. As an overall conclusion, online education is still far from being fully institutionalised. After four years of technological and contextual changes during the research development, a positive shift can be seen in teachers‟ attitude towards online  education. They show more confidence in working with constantly improved virtual environments. Nevertheless, there are still key factors that need to be faced regarding online education adoption and institutionalisation. These factors are of a strategic nature and the way to handle them seems to be more political than technological or pedagogical.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping International Business School , 2013. , 351 p.
Series
JIBS Dissertation Series, ISSN 1403-0470 ; 087
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20649ISBN: 978-91-86345-40-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-20649DiVA: diva2:606383
Public defence
2013-03-15, B1014 at JIBS, Gjuterigatan 5, Jönköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-02-19 Created: 2013-02-19 Last updated: 2013-03-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Exploring the Current Theoretical Background About Adoption Until Institutionalization of Online Education in Universities: Needs for further research
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring the Current Theoretical Background About Adoption Until Institutionalization of Online Education in Universities: Needs for further research
2010 (English)In: Electronic Journal of e-Learning, ISSN 1479-4403, Vol. 8, no 2, 73-84 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Online education in institutional contexts means new organizational problems. The fact that universities need to change to accommodate the impact of technology on learning is already known and accepted. Coping with changes from adoption until institutionalization of online education represents a formidable management challenge for universities. Online education, under the umbrella of e-learning was perceived by several early researchers as an innovation per-se, "established and embedded" in educational institutions. Nevertheless, the Department for Education and Skills of UK insists that e-learning is not embedded at any stage of education. The focus was strongly set on technological, practical and pedagogical aspects but there are relevant reports about failures in embedding innovations in educational institutions. The institutional lack of strategies to cope with international students and new technologies as well as supporting for future online developments clearly appeared in recent studies. Competition in the market of Higher Education has pushed universities towards the adoption of sophisticated organizational practices to ensure effectiveness. These new institutional models require changing traditional functions and roles, as online education does not usually fit into the existing university structure. The transition from on-campus to online education evolves in new roles, either in the pedagogical or in the administration domains. Organizational factors, more than teachers and students attitudes or technological features seem to mark the differences in the general perception about technology-mediated education getting successfully embedded in institutional new programs, roles, procedures, culture and structures. The aim of this paper is to revisit the existing theoretical background about the process from adoption until institutionalization of online education and explore the needs for further research. The overall purpose is to encourage researchers to fill the gaps of knowledge helping university managers to address a more clear understanding of the individual and organizational interactions that influence the development of strategies and institutionalization of emergent online educational initiatives. Exploring the current theoretical background it could be found that IT-innovation adoption models describe very extensively organizational issues, but they mainly take into account educational innovation take-up, adoption and implementation as isolated stages. They focus on factors and prescribed practices, but not on the human interactions during the transition from individual adoption until institutionalization. The disconnection between individual and organizational IT adoption research was remarked by the Diffusion Interest Group in Information Technology (DIGIT) in their 2004 conference. Since then, several authors have claimed for a better understanding of this linkage. The lack of clearness about the phenomena and a description of how individual and group-level processes enable and/or hinder the development of organizational routines, were reported as a still under-developed topic and according to the findings of this review it seems to be still an ongoing theme. Consequently, under the circumstance of the transformation that universities are undergoing, the need for a systematic study analyzing the implementation of emergent IT innovations in education appears as significant. Particularly, the process from its adoption at individual level until its institutionalization and the linkage between individual and organizational purposes need to be addressed.

Keyword
Online education, adoption, organizational factors, institutionalization, universities
National Category
Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-14659 (URN)
Available from: 2011-02-15 Created: 2011-02-15 Last updated: 2013-07-23Bibliographically approved
2. Professors' driving and limiting factors for the adoption of e-learning in higher education within Argentine context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Professors' driving and limiting factors for the adoption of e-learning in higher education within Argentine context
2008 (English)In: Proceedings of X International Conference on Engineering and Technology Education, Brazil, 2008, 264-268 p.Conference paper, (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Implementing e-learning needs an accurate understanding of the users requirements to be met but we also felt that higher education professors have driving and limiting factors that encourages or prevent themselves in facing the first step in e-learning. This scenario was explored by designing and distributing a questionnaire among professors from engineer careers at National Technology University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We selected them taking into account different formation backgrounds in order to avoid biases in answers. We then performed a comparative analysis and it was shown that 95% of them were very or rather positive towards e-learning; their main purposes to use it were related with improving interaction and not technical facilities. Driving factors were mainly the search of pedagogical improvements. Barriers were both individual concerns (lack of technical knowledge and time) and institutional (lack of incentives and technical support).

Keyword
barriers, driving factors, e-learning, higher education
National Category
Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-14660 (URN)8589-12054-6 (ISBN)
Conference
X International Conference on Engineering and Technology Education, Brazil
Available from: 2011-02-15 Created: 2011-02-15 Last updated: 2013-02-19Bibliographically approved
3. Teachers' Perception of Institutional Strategies on e-Learning Implementations: A Comparative Study of an Argentinian and a Swedish University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teachers' Perception of Institutional Strategies on e-Learning Implementations: A Comparative Study of an Argentinian and a Swedish University
Show others...
2008 (English)In: Proceedings of ICEL: The 3rd International Conference on E-learning 2008 / [ed] Dan Remenyi, 2008, 87-94 p.Conference paper, (Other academic)
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-5737 (URN)9781906638054 (ISBN)
Conference
3rd International Conference on e-Learning University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa 26-27 June 2008
Available from: 2008-06-13 Created: 2008-06-13 Last updated: 2015-03-25Bibliographically approved
4. The impact of national culture on e-learning implementation: A comparative study of an Argentinean and a Swedish University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The impact of national culture on e-learning implementation: A comparative study of an Argentinean and a Swedish University
Show others...
2009 (English)In: Educational Media International, ISSN 0952-3987, E-ISSN 1469-5790, Vol. 46, no 1, 67-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study compared attitudes, purposes, driving factors and barriers of using e-learning at an Argentinean and a Swedish university. Data from a questionnaire answered by 269 university teachers was analysed to discern similarities and differences in responses from Argentinean and Swedish teachers. The main conclusion of the study was that the responses from Swedish and Argentinean teachers were similar. However, some differences were discerned. Argentinean teachers stated communication with students and active student participation as more important driving factors than Swedish teachers. Lack of incentives and appreciation were stated as more important barriers among the Argentinean teachers. University teachers from both countries used e-learning tools for administrative rather than pedagogical purposes. One explanation of this finding might be that the transition towards actually teaching and learning with technology was experienced as too challenging. Based on the findings of the study, it could be concluded that there is a vital need of university teachers to receive support from implementers and colleagues in order to overcome the barriers of lack of time and knowledge of the pedagogical implications of e-learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2009
Keyword
E-learning, national culture, higher education, implementation
National Category
Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-7989 (URN)10.1080/09523980902781253 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-02-25 Created: 2009-02-25 Last updated: 2015-03-25Bibliographically approved
5. The impact of communicating institutional strategies in teachers' attitude about adopting online education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The impact of communicating institutional strategies in teachers' attitude about adopting online education
2011 (English)In: The Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on e-Learning: ICEL 2011, 2011, 62-71 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-17754 (URN)9781908272041 (ISBN)
Conference
International Conference on E-Learning (ICEL 2011)
Available from: 2012-03-06 Created: 2012-03-06 Last updated: 2013-02-19Bibliographically approved
6. Institutional strategies influencing the adoption of online education in universities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Institutional strategies influencing the adoption of online education in universities
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20650 (URN)
Available from: 2013-02-19 Created: 2013-02-19 Last updated: 2013-02-19Bibliographically approved
7. Flexibility to harmonise teachers and institutional stakeholders‘ purposes of e-learning initiatives: a pilot experience
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Flexibility to harmonise teachers and institutional stakeholders‘ purposes of e-learning initiatives: a pilot experience
2009 (English)In: Proceedings of the 6th. International Conference on Engineering and Computer Education: Educating engineers for innovation, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2009, 259-263 p.Conference paper, (Other academic)
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20647 (URN)978-85-89120-63-0 (ISBN)
Conference
the 6th. International Conference on Engineering and Computer Education: Educating engineers for innovation, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Available from: 2013-02-19 Created: 2013-02-19 Last updated: 2013-02-19Bibliographically approved
8. An experience of an engineering online education implementation involving action research
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An experience of an engineering online education implementation involving action research
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20646 (URN)
Available from: 2013-02-19 Created: 2013-02-19 Last updated: 2013-02-19Bibliographically approved

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Output format
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