Online education on campus : a technological frames perspective on the process of technology appropriation
The advent of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and the Internet has created significant opportunity for online education. Research on this topic has addressed its effectiveness, but as yet little attention has been given to the technology appropriation process in this context. This thesis adopts a social constructivist perspective. To enhance the understanding of online education, the study argues for abandoning the notion of technology as a passive tool and, instead, for considering the contextual issues which surround it. In order to understand how learning and technology appropriation takes place, the organisational and cultural setting needs to be considered. From this underlying conceptual position, the thesis constructs a theoretical framework using theories of collaborative and situated learning in combination with technological frames analysis. Applying this framework, an empirical study is performed on the implementation of an online education system at a traditional U.K. university. Research findings suggest that student perception and interpretation of technology and of online education are strongly influenced by their understanding of the institution, and these perceptions alter students' subsequent behaviour towards technology during the learning process. Furthermore, the study reveals that student appropriation of technology changes in accordance with the surrounding context and their realisation of the educational value which emerges from their interaction with the system over time. The theoretical contribution arises from applying to the study of online education the social constructivist approach to information systems. The methodological contribution lies in demonstrating the value of the interpretive approach for understanding online education on campus. Empirically, the thesis has significant value for educationalists by highlighting the contextual issues that affect student appropriation of technology and the consequent learning outcomes.