Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


This study arose from discussions with the deans of instruction of El Camino College, California, during which it appeared that there was a need to develop self-directed faculty training programs in the use of computers. There was little necessity to convince the computer-literate faculty that microcomputers should be used in their educational activities. However, it was difficult to make faculty who were not computer-literate see the usefulness of microcomputers in their work, or to convince them to take advantage of existing staff development programs in computer training. Developing self-directed programs in computer training and basic computer literacy seemed to be one answer to this problem. The purposes of this study were (1) to establish existing computer-literacy levels among faculty members at El Camino College; (2) to determine the principal obstacles to self-directed computer training, along with strategies designed to overcome these obstacles; and ( 3) to develop recommendations concerning the structure of self-directed computer training programs for faculty at El Camino College. Faculty members were surveyed to identify the perceived need for self-directed computer training programs, and the willingness of various faculty groups to take formal versus self-directed computer training. Faculty group differences were tested at a .05 level of significance for math/science compared with humanities faculty. In both groups the percentage of non-computer-literate faculty was greater than fifty-percent. In addition, the most preferred method of computer-training for computer-literate college faculty was self-directed training or self-taught at seventy percent. A twenty-five member survey group of computer-literate educators at El Camino College ranked the following obstacles most important: (1) nonavailability of personal computers, (2) lack of troubleshooting assistance when needed, (3) lack of interest in computers, (4) lack of motivation/reward for learning to use computers, (5) inability to understand written directions for use of computers or software, (6) other obligations or demands on time, and {7) computer anxiety. A second survey then produced a list of top-ranked strategies needed to overcome each of the seven major obstacles to self-directed computer training at El Camino College that were identified by the survey group. Application of the computer usage survey instrument of Appendix C to two groups of twenty-five randomly selected humanities and math/science faculty showed that there were significant differences in computer-literacy rates between the humanities group and the math/science group. Forty-eight percent of the math/science group were computer-literate, while only twenty percent of the humanities group were computer-literate. Demographic data compiled during the survey showed that there were no obvious age differences in computer-literacy. An extensive literature search substantiated most of the results obtained in this study. For example, researchers have reported in the literature that self-instruction is the largest source of computer training among those faculty members who are computer-literate, and that self-directed computer training is the preferred means of training for most faculty members. The diffusion and implementation process for this research study took place on the local, state, and national levels. At El Camino College, the diffusion process consisted of presenting final copies of the study results to (1) the President and Vice-President of Instruction; (2) the, departmental deans of instruction; (3) staff development officers; and (4) the College Academic Senate. Interested individuals will receive a briefing based upon the findings of this study with a special emphasis on the recommended strategies needed to overcome the barriers to self-directed computer training. The implications for improvement of educational practice arising from this Major Applied Research Project are that a long-standing problem in the computer-literacy training of faculty at El Camino College can be solved. It is expected that many of the results and recommendations, concerning the structure of self-directed computer training obtained in this study will be applicable to other community colleges across the nation. Sample survey instruments and computer-usage questionnaires are presented in Appendix A, B, and C. Examples of faculty development computer-training programs are given in Appendix D and E. An extensive bibliography on the subject of self-directed computer training for college faculty is also included.

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