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Factors Affecting the Usability of Educational Portals and their Influence on the Information Practices of Pre-Collegiate Educators

Cheng, I-Ling (2015) Factors Affecting the Usability of Educational Portals and their Influence on the Information Practices of Pre-Collegiate Educators. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The goal of this dissertation is to develop a model that benefits educators and instructional technologists in building effective educational portals that meet teachers’ specific needs when they seek information in support of teaching preparation. This study consists of a Factor Study and an Acceptance Study to understand K-12 teachers’ information behavior. It has two supporting theories – Task Complexity (Byström & Järvelin, 1995) and Technology Acceptance Model (TAM; Davis, 1993) – to evaluate what factors influences K-12 teachers’ information-seeking behavior and their acceptance of educational portals in relation to tasks associated with lesson preparation. Also, the study used a mixed-method approach to address the research questions and included East Asia Gateway for Linking Educators (EAGLE) and four other portals as platforms to accurately cross-check K-12 teachers’ acceptance. EAGLE ( is an educational portal that provides East Asia resources for teaching and creates by the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) at the University of Pittsburgh. All the participants are NCTA alumni who have an account on EAGLE.
The main findings of this study are: (1) Teachers’ background, prior technological experiences, extrinsic barriers, intrinsic barriers and attitudes influence information-seeking behavior and their acceptance and usage of educational portals. More specifically, an individual’s attitude is a major factor impacting teachers’ seeking information from educational portals to be incorporated into course design. (2) K-12 teachers’ Perceived Usefulness is an important factor that influences their acceptance of educational portals; however, when K-12 teachers actually use portals, their Perceived Ease of Use becomes a more important factor. (3) The main factors that influence K-12 teachers’ acceptance of educational portal are: Time Issues and System Interface. (4) Teacher’s Computer Self-efficacy (TCS) is a catalyst that changes K-12 teachers’ information behavior when using educational portals.
The limitations of this study were, first, the participants were volunteers and limited to a small geographic area (Pittsburgh) and emphasized social sciences teachers. Additionally, the data was collected from self-reported measures and not by independently verified instruments. Both of these aspects could limit the generalizability of this study.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHe, Daqingdaqing@mail.sis.pitt.eduDAH44
Committee MemberBowler, Leanne lbowler@sis.pitt.eduLBOWLER
Committee MemberJordan, Brenda jordanb@pitt.eduJORDANB
Committee MemberDetlefsen, Ellen ellen@sis.pitt.eduELLEN
Date: 7 May 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 January 2015
Approval Date: 7 May 2015
Submission Date: 19 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 223
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Information Practices, Information Behaviors, K-12 teachers, Educational Portals, Usability, Pre-Collegiate Educators, Interface design
Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 15:56
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:28


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