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People, Place and Process
As a doctoral candidate in the Department of Language, Reading, and Culture at the University of Arizona, I studied a faculty development initiative that was designed to make an impact on the participants' use of technology tools, on their teaching methodologies and philosophies, and ultimately on the learning experiences of undergraduate students. I successfully defended my dissertation on February 28, 2003.
The purpose of this case study was to describe the faculty development experiences of the participants and facilitators of the workshop, a program designed to support the reform of undergraduate teaching and learning at a Research I institution in the Southwest. This case study included in-depth interviews with the workshop's designers and facilitators, beginning and ending workshop surveys administered to the participants in three 2001 workshops, an online questionnaire administered to 150 of the 165 participants, a field study of one faculty participant, and interviews with seven faculty participants. The findings of the study suggested that a unique convergence of people, place, and process created an effective learning environment that supported 21st-century university faculty development.
An overarching research question framed this study: Is university faculty development constructed around technology tools integration an effective model for moving faculty toward a student-centered classroom environment?
The data collected in the study directly addressed the following
sub-questions as well:
Like many educators across the United States and around the world, I would like to rise to effectively meet the challenge of meaningfully integrating 21st-century technology tools into every content area of the curriculum. Many educational theorists and researchers believe that appropriating these tools for student empowerment holds the promise of democratizing education (Brown, 1999; Cummins & Sayers, 1995; Kinzer & Leu, 1997). This research project gave me the opportunity to study the instructional context and methodologies created and used by the workshop facilitators and experienced by the workshop participants. Through my own participation in the workshop, I also had the opportunity to learn, to study, and ultimately to utilize appropriate technology tools to empower learners, to invite full participation in the co-construction of the learning environment. This study has greatly influenced my work as a teacher and teacher-librarian educator as well. Using technology tools to reconsider teaching practices may be one of the most effective ways to initiate pedagogical conversations especially with the most seasoned educators. Throughout this study, I aspired to accurately represent the lived-experiences of the participants and through their perspectives add to this timely and critical conversation.
Updated: 23 May 2007