Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

The Impact of IT: Pedagogical Perspectives in University Education Settings

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

The Impact of IT: Pedagogical Perspectives in University Education Settings

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In today's learning environment, education is no longer limited to the classroom setting.

With the advent of the internet, students have become dependent on the ability to access nearly limitless information in seconds, and professors are facilitating this ability. The demand for easily accessible, personalized, and convenient learning is on the rise (Morgan and Adams, 2009), and the university scene is not immune to this desire. Only a few decades ago, technology was limited, and specialized skills were needed to operate it. Today, however, 93% of students own a laptop computer, according a study conducted by IBM and the Marist Institute for Public Opinion (2009).

The growing prevalence of technology in our society has given rise to some concerns with using it in the classroom, particularly with regard to online courses. Indeed, it has been shown that conducting courses entirely online can be detrimental to learning. Without direct contact with their professors, students have shown a significant drop in motivation (Eddy, Burnett, Spaulding, and Murphy, 1997). This finding is supported by online course dropout rates, which range from 30% to 70% (Frankola, 2001; Osberg, 2002; Wang, Foucar-Szocki, and Griffin, 2003). In a typical classroom setting, the advantages of face-to-face contact must be considered. Student-professor interaction enables the professor to answer questions, make his expectations clear, and deal with any confusion the students may have. Students can also check with their classmates when something is missed or misunderstood. These connections can be made online, but not as easily (Conaway, Easton, and Schemidt, 2005).

Incorporating technology into the traditional classroom setting, however, is different than putting classes online. Instructional technology (IT) can be an efficient addition to existing courses, materials, and approaches (Smith, 1996). Alavi, Yoo, and Vogel (1997) argued that technological advances "have not led to fundamental changes in learning and teaching. Instead, in many instances, computers and communication technologies have replaced or augmented blackboards and chalk for instructors and paper and pencils for students" (p. 1312). This claim is supported by a survey conducted by a group at Eastern Illinois University, in which students expressed the wish to have their course materials, syllabi, assignments, and blackboard presentations/lectures available online. According to these students, one of the most beneficial features of having these materials online would be the freedom to access them at any time (Lundgren, Garrett, and Lundgren, 1999).

There are, in fact, numerous advantages to using technology in the classroom, which has led to its growing popularity. Technology used in moderation, for example, can provide students with different options for organizing and advancing their learning (Smith, 1996). Students at universities across the country appreciate the convenience of online course work supplementation: The International Data Corporation, a U.S.-based distance learning association, released an estimate that about 2000 major colleges and universities are offering some form of Web-based education (Aggarwal, Adlakha, and Mersha, 2006). When technology is used in cooperation with the classroom setting, both ways of learning benefit.

Communication, while originally confined to the parameters of the classroom and word of mouth, is now supported by informational technology. Piccoli, Ahmad, and Ives (2001) found that much of communication still occurs in the classroom or through broad messages sent electronically from professors to all students. R. Benbunan-Fich (2002) described IT as "a communication support tool, [that] can extend faculty availability beyond class times and office hours, establish links to other classmates, and accomplish administrative activities such as the distribution of materials, reminders, and notifications" (p. …

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