Higher Education, Educational technology, Qualitative research, Universities and colleges faculty, technology adoption, instructional media


Background: Researchers have revealed that among the reasons provided as barriers to the adoption of technology are: lack of technology resources, time, professional development and support (National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, 1997; Parker, 1996; Sheldon & Jones, 1996; Sheldon & Jones, 1996; NCATE, 1997; Shelly, Gunter & Gunter, 2010, U.S. Congress, 1995). Several models used to explain the usage of technology within education such as the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) have been somewhat ineffective in explaining or providing a holistic view of the factors that come into play when examining technology infusion and diffusion as they account for a limited percentage of variance (Legris, Ingham & Collerete, 2003; Pan, Gunter, Sivo & Cornell, 2005).

Purpose: To better understand the choices that faculty members make in their use of educational technologies and media and to determine why some technologies such as blackboard have been widely adopted, but others have not. The following research question was formulated to guide the study: "Why do faculty members in higher education make the instructional choices they do with respect to educational technologies and media? Also, how can the use of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), as a more robust framework, offer an increase in explanatory power to better enable the understanding of a multitude of factors that impact the adoption and use of certain media technologies?

Setting: A technology rich department at a college of a large urban university in the Southeastern United States.

Participants: Three faculty members who taught in the department.

Research Design: Qualitative multi-site case study informed by Engeström's Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) (Engeström, 1987).

Data Collection and Analysis: Document analysis, individual interviews, and laboratory and classroom observations provided data. Qualitative data analysis that employed qualitative inquiry research was informed by Creswell's "data analysis spiral" and Engeström's CHAT.

Findings: Visits at the institution presented several of the key ideas in the CHAT framework including contradictions within the media selection activity and tensions at the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary levels. Additional themes included group work, autonomy, media as a tool to achieve learning goals, caring for students, early adopters, and relevance with current trends.

Graduation Date





Gunter, Glenda


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education


Educational and Human Sciences








Release Date


Length of Campus-only Access


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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)