Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Michael Simonson


This study originally pursues determining how widely diffused Iowa Communications Network (ICN) is as a technology of distance education. To be clear, the question to be answered is: How do representative adopters of the ICN feel about using this technology? Theoretically, positive opinions of these adopters regarding the ICN as a technology of distance learning are viewed as indicating that the technology is fairly diffused. The representative adopters in this study are selected from among experts and educational leaders. Further in the study, it is also sought to explore how distance education might progress in the future. A major point of departure for the study is that favorable opinions toward an innovation help influence its diffusion. Extensive information is thus provided regarding theories of opinion leadership from late 19th century to present. Three different lines of thought are identified among these theories: imitation and modeling, influence from mass media, and influence from the Internet. The study has used these theories to develop three research tools. Two of these tools are used to measure the diffusion of the ICN. The last one is used to make predictions about the future of distance education. The story of the ICN is closely related to what distance education might be like in the coming times. Distance-learning tools would of course grow increasingly advanced. But virtual education that became refined through using the ICN seems to hardly go through drastic change in the foreseeable future.

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