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Faculty Gender and Student-Centered Pedagogical Approaches in the use of a Course Management System

Solomon, Meghan (2012) Faculty Gender and Student-Centered Pedagogical Approaches in the use of a Course Management System. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    The use of technology for instruction continues to increase and is playing a more significant role in higher education (DeAngelo et al., 2009). As instructional technology has become a more integral part of college and university teaching, researchers have noted gender-related differences in regard to faculty approach, perception, and implementation of technology (Campbell & Varnhagen, 2002). While research investigating traditional classroom settings has suggested that female faculty have historically shown a stronger preference for student-centered pedagogy as compared to male faculty (e.g., Lammers & Murphy, 2002; Statham-Macke, 1980), fewer studies have focused on how potential gendered pedagogical preferences translate into use of and approach to instructional technology in higher education. Consequently, it is important to investigate faculty gender and pedagogical preference in the application of instructional technology in order to inform practice within institutions of higher education. This dissertation investigates what happens when male and female faculty use a course management system (CMS) to present all or part of their instructional program online through the use of qualitative methods. A comparative case study grounded in a theoretical framework based on Women’s Ways of Knowing and feminist pedagogy guided analysis of data collected from faculty interviews, course observations, and content analysis of syllabi. After considering the narratives of the eight faculty participants in this study as well as course observation and document analysis, several speculative results emerged, including the notion that female faculty participants may be more likely to invite student feedback on their course. I believe that engaging students in the construction of the online component of the course may suggest that female faculty are more critically reflective of their instructional program online. In addition, females may be more likely to encourage the formation of an online community. The encouragement of student interaction in the course is considered to be more student-centered because it encourages a more democratic construction of knowledge. While there were differences based on the context of each course, female faculty respondents were more likely to use multiple ways to interact with students and offer their feedback and support. The integration of student experiences with course content and use of technologic functions resulted in intentional personalization of the course for students. Type of presentation (online versus hybrid) and level of instruction (graduate versus undergraduate) also were related to student-centered instructional approaches to the Blackboard CMS, as I observed in this study. The online faculty used the technology more heavily than did the faculty teaching face-to-face, most likely a function of the goals of the respective types of instructional programs. The graduate courses, in general, were more likely to include student discussion leading to a more democratic construction of knowledge, a testament to the specific aims of that type of course. Findings are discussed with respect to their implications for understanding gendered patterns of the use of instructional technology.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee ChairWeidman, Johnweidman@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberYeager, Johnjlyeager@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberGarman, Noreenngarman@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberLaudato, Nicholasnick.laudato@gmail.com
    Title: Faculty Gender and Student-Centered Pedagogical Approaches in the use of a Course Management System
    Status: Published
    Abstract: The use of technology for instruction continues to increase and is playing a more significant role in higher education (DeAngelo et al., 2009). As instructional technology has become a more integral part of college and university teaching, researchers have noted gender-related differences in regard to faculty approach, perception, and implementation of technology (Campbell & Varnhagen, 2002). While research investigating traditional classroom settings has suggested that female faculty have historically shown a stronger preference for student-centered pedagogy as compared to male faculty (e.g., Lammers & Murphy, 2002; Statham-Macke, 1980), fewer studies have focused on how potential gendered pedagogical preferences translate into use of and approach to instructional technology in higher education. Consequently, it is important to investigate faculty gender and pedagogical preference in the application of instructional technology in order to inform practice within institutions of higher education. This dissertation investigates what happens when male and female faculty use a course management system (CMS) to present all or part of their instructional program online through the use of qualitative methods. A comparative case study grounded in a theoretical framework based on Women’s Ways of Knowing and feminist pedagogy guided analysis of data collected from faculty interviews, course observations, and content analysis of syllabi. After considering the narratives of the eight faculty participants in this study as well as course observation and document analysis, several speculative results emerged, including the notion that female faculty participants may be more likely to invite student feedback on their course. I believe that engaging students in the construction of the online component of the course may suggest that female faculty are more critically reflective of their instructional program online. In addition, females may be more likely to encourage the formation of an online community. The encouragement of student interaction in the course is considered to be more student-centered because it encourages a more democratic construction of knowledge. While there were differences based on the context of each course, female faculty respondents were more likely to use multiple ways to interact with students and offer their feedback and support. The integration of student experiences with course content and use of technologic functions resulted in intentional personalization of the course for students. Type of presentation (online versus hybrid) and level of instruction (graduate versus undergraduate) also were related to student-centered instructional approaches to the Blackboard CMS, as I observed in this study. The online faculty used the technology more heavily than did the faculty teaching face-to-face, most likely a function of the goals of the respective types of instructional programs. The graduate courses, in general, were more likely to include student discussion leading to a more democratic construction of knowledge, a testament to the specific aims of that type of course. Findings are discussed with respect to their implications for understanding gendered patterns of the use of instructional technology.
    Date: 12 January 2012
    Date Type: Publication
    Defense Date: 14 September 2011
    Approval Date: 12 January 2012
    Submission Date: 08 December 2011
    Release Date: 12 January 2012
    Access Restriction: No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Number of Pages: 250
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Course management system, student-centered pedagogy
    Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
    Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2012 08:47
    Last Modified: 16 Jul 2014 17:04

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