Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Perceptions of Pharmacy Students, Faculty Members, and Administrators on the Use of Technology in the Classroom

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Perceptions of Pharmacy Students, Faculty Members, and Administrators on the Use of Technology in the Classroom

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

As higher education institutions increase their use of technology and new technologies are developed, there is increasing pressure on faculty members to use these new technologies in the classroom and to appropriately modify the educational methods they use. (1,2) This pressure, in large part, is attributable to different learning preferences of the new generation of students, who are referred to as "digital natives." (3) These students have not only an overall greater preference for technology use but also a strong desire to be engaged in and to interact during the learning process.

Technology can enhance the teaching and learning experience through ready access to information, increased collaboration, and student engagement. (4) Some technologies have been documented to improve teaching and learning. For example, student engagement, active learning, and learning outcomes were improved with the use of audience response systems and lecture podcasting. (5-10) Online and asynchronous learning are some of the newer teaching methods possibly attributable to the increased use of technology in education. Although students may be frustrated with technology at times, asynchronous learning is preferred by students. (11) Additionally, learning has been enhanced by a combination of live lectures and online learning strategies. (12)

Some have argued that technology is occasionally used just for the sake of technology and that allowing technology to dictate the teaching approach is ineffective. (13) Mixed results have been found for the use of Microsoft PowerPoint, for example. While it receives positive reviews as a tool that stimulates creativity, it promotes low student responsibility for and passivity toward learning. (14) Interestingly, pharmacy students indicate that they rely heavily on PowerPoint presentations for their learning. (15) Similarly, various features of course management systems have different influences on learning. (16) Simply using a course management system as a means to distribute information does not substantially enhance the learning experience; however, the discussion features and the support for increased interactions allow students to become more engaged in learning.

The Technology in Pharmacy Education and Learning Special Interest Group (TiPEL SIG) of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) catalogued a database of instructional technologies available at colleges and schools of pharmacy. In gathering these data, however, the group did not quantify the extent to which these technologies were used by faculty members and students. (17) The objective of this investigation was to evaluate perceptions of pharmacy faculty members, students, and administrators regarding types, frequency, and appropriateness of educational technology use in the classroom.

METHODS

To investigate perceptions regarding the type, frequency, and appropriateness of technology use in the classroom, opinions of the main stakeholders (ie, faculty members, students, and administrators) were solicited. A collaboration of 6 members of the AACP Academic Leadership Fellows Program (ALFP) and the group's dean facilitator developed 2 survey instruments (1 each for faculty members and students) and interview questions for administrators. After discussions at the initial ALFP retreat in August 2010 and extensive literature and Web reviews, the group developed 3 survey instruments, which were revised several times to clarify survey items. Face validity of the survey instrument was determined by a consensus of 7 study investigators. Technologies evaluated in the survey instruments were: course management systems (eg, Blackboard [Blackboard Inc., Washington, DC], Moodle [Moodle HQ, Perth, Western Australia]), audience response systems (eg, TurningPoint [Turning Technologies, Youngstown, Ohio], iClicker [Macmillan New Ventures, NY, NY]), lecture capture (eg, Tegrity [TegrityUSA, Burr Ridge, IL], Echo360 [Anystream, Dulles, VA], podcasts (eg, iTunesU [Apple, Cupertino, CA]), Web 2. …

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