CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Gertrude W Abramson

Committee Member

Marlyn Littman

Committee Member

Helen St. Aubin


Computer Technology, Office Support Staff, Online Support Community, Support, Training, University


Educational institutions strive to stay on the edge of technological advances in response to stakeholders' desire to receive value for their investment. Rapid changes in computer technology present a dilemma to colleges and universities in the support and training arena. An important segment of the institutional population, office support staff are vital to the everyday running of departments with extremely diverse responsibilities critical to the institutional mission. Office support staff seem to be left out when support and training programs for new technology are being planned. With technology changing so quickly it is vital that organizations have support and training programs in place that will continually provide office support staff with updated skills.

The developmental study used an implementation analysis method to develop an online support community (OSC) to provide a central location to find and contribute support for computer technology issues that affected productivity. A needs assessment comprised of literature reports, focus group feedback, and historical records as well as the results of a pre-survey and inventory ensured data triangulation and was used to define content areas for technology support and training. A Learning Management System was used to plan and design the OSC in the initial treatment and workplace software, SharePoint, for the second treatment. Discussion forums and content areas were created using the defined technology content areas. Office support staff participated in the study and data were collected using surveys, content postings, interviews and electronic reporting. The OSC was evaluated after the first and second treatments using an evaluation model of reaction, learning, behavior, and results.

The results indicated that an OSC can be effectively used to provide technology support for office support staff. Elements necessary for design include: long-term documentation, content matter experts, medium that allows for open-ended login, evidence of knowledgeable participants sharing useful data, participant leaders, and IM for immediate answers. The need for support and training for office support staff is ongoing and necessary for the productive and efficient completion of their job and work responsibilities. The results will be useful in designing online support communities and for planning support and training events.

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