American University
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An assessment of faculty attitudes toward the open source course management system Sakai from an educational perspective

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posted on 2023-08-04, 16:29 authored by Maryam A. Al-Ali

In the recent past, many colleges and universities have begun to seriously consider open source course management systems (CMS) as a way to minimize financial investment and gain control over the software applications they use. As academic institutions make this transition, it is crucial to recognize faculty's perspectives and expectations as key factors in the future success of distance education. Therefore, this study sought to describe faculty attitudes toward the use of Sakai as a tool for enhancing the teaching and learning experience. In particular, the study assessed faculty perspectives with regard to the software and its pedagogical advantages. To isolate the key issues involved, the study investigated the demographic characteristics of faculty, their use of Sakai, their purposes for using it, their perceptions about its pedagogical/technical advantages and disadvantages, and their overall satisfaction. An electronic survey was emailed to 383 faculty members who were using Sakai in their academic courses at four institutions throughout the U.S. Descriptive and inferential statistics were mainly used to analyze the survey data. The major findings demonstrated that most faculty had used Sakai for a very short period of time and mainly to enhance traditional courses. Faculty indicated that personal interest, Sakai's pedagogical effectiveness, and the need to increase course flexibility were the primary factors motivating them to develop courses using Sakai, while grant projects was the least motivating factor. Faculty perceived Sakai's strongest technical advantages to be: organize course materials, provide additional course materials, and provide course security. In terms of Sakai's pedagogical potential, though the majority of faculty were positive about the pedagogical advantages of Sakai in supporting student engagement, collaboration, and learning, a large number also indicated a neutral attitude. Similarly, faculty were neutral, and tended to agree on Sakai's ease of use and its contribution to students' learning. Furthermore, although they were generally satisfied with all the technical aspects, they also reported many technical problems and frustrations with its functionality, user friendliness, and user interface. Finally, faculty were inclined to use Sakai in their future teaching, and overall they were relatively satisfied with it.







Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 68-03, Section: A, page: 9640.; Adviser: Sarah Irvine-Belson.; Thesis (Ph.D.)--American University, 2007.


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