Journal of Nursing Education

Research Briefs 

Years of Experience as a Predictor of Nurse Faculty Technology Use

Suhasini Kotcherlakota, PhD; Kevin A. Kupzyk, PhD; Patrick Rejda, MSEd

Abstract

Background:

Many nurse educators are reluctant toward technology changes and view it as a burden. An emerging crisis factor among nursing colleges is the average age of faculty members being older than 51 years. The purpose of this study is to describe nurse faculty preferences about the use of technologies and to examine relationships between their preferences and years of experience.

Method:

One hundred eighteen faculty members from a midwestern U.S. nursing college participated in national studies on faculty technology use across 2 years.

Results:

The study results indicated negative relationships between years of faculty experience and attitudes toward the value of obtaining increased skills for technology integration within the curriculum. Newer faculty were more likely than experienced faculty to have positive attitudes for increased technology use and adoption.

Conclusion:

Providing faculty with opportunities to foster innovative integration of technology is encouraged. Future research is needed to explore links between faculty experience, age, and attitudes toward technology adoption. [J Nurs Educ. 2017;56(2):115–119.]

Abstract

Background:

Many nurse educators are reluctant toward technology changes and view it as a burden. An emerging crisis factor among nursing colleges is the average age of faculty members being older than 51 years. The purpose of this study is to describe nurse faculty preferences about the use of technologies and to examine relationships between their preferences and years of experience.

Method:

One hundred eighteen faculty members from a midwestern U.S. nursing college participated in national studies on faculty technology use across 2 years.

Results:

The study results indicated negative relationships between years of faculty experience and attitudes toward the value of obtaining increased skills for technology integration within the curriculum. Newer faculty were more likely than experienced faculty to have positive attitudes for increased technology use and adoption.

Conclusion:

Providing faculty with opportunities to foster innovative integration of technology is encouraged. Future research is needed to explore links between faculty experience, age, and attitudes toward technology adoption. [J Nurs Educ. 2017;56(2):115–119.]

The purpose of the study is to describe nurse faculty preferences about use of technologies and to examine relationships between their preferences and years of experience. Students in today's generation are more digitally connected than ever. The rapid evolution of educational technologies is changing and shaping the way students expect to learn and how faculty are expected to teach. Traditionally taught higher education systems are transforming to be more learner-centered systems, with students as the center of the learning process (Weimer, 2013). All of these emerging trends require faculty to choose educational technologies relevant to teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2014). In a recent vision statement, the National League for Nursing (2015, p. 4) called for action by nurse educators to “teach with and about” technology for advancing nursing education in topics related to mobile and virtual health care, cloud computing, and informatics. Williamson, Fineout-Overholt, Kent, and Hutchinson (2011) recommended incorporating technology into the curriculum as a way to develop information literacy and evidence-based decision making of future nurses practicing in 21st century health care environments. This change and shift in the pedagogy may be viewed as an increased burden by faculty in their adoption and use of new educational technologies. Some of the barriers (Marzilli et al., 2014) include:

  • Viewing technology as a distraction.
  • Lack of knowledge.
  • Insufficient resources.
  • Unreliability of hardware and software platforms.
  • Pressure from administrators and students.
  • Using outdated platforms and tools.

An emerging crisis factor in nursing colleges is the age of faculty members. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2012), the average age of doctoral and master's prepared nursing faculty is greater than 51 years. Schmitt, Sims-Giddens, and Booth (2012) attributed the slow adoption of technology to the aging factor and note additional barriers for nursing faculty, such as time, risks of policy, privacy violation, cost, and lack of familiarity with technology. Understanding the barriers and types of technology behind the hesitation of faculty may help educators and researchers to develop interventions or training targeted at helping more experienced faculty feel more comfortable with new technology. This could positively affect the applicability of technology to nursing education.

Method

Design

The Educause Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) survey has been used by many institutions to assess student and faculty use of, and attitudes toward, several types of educational technologies. The authors' institution participated in the 2014 and 2015 studies on faculty and information technology. The faculty and technology surveys for years 2014 and 2015 were used for this analysis.

Participants and Setting

The sample includes 118 faculty members surveyed across 2 years via an online survey instrument. The majority of respondents were full-time faculty members (91%), women (97%), and White (89%); others included Black, Hispanic, or Asian. Years of experience ranged from first year as faculty to 42 years (mean = 15.7 years). The faculty are located in five locations across the state.

Data Analysis

Although a longitudinal aspect to this survey exists, due to data being collected over the course of 2 years, the samples were independent, making the study a multiple cohort design. To test whether technology adoption and use changed from 2014 to 2015, independent-group Mann-Whitney U tests were used to determine whether the variable distributions changed across the 2 years. Nonparametric tests were used due to the non-normal distributions of the variables. To test whether years of experience was related to the variables of interest, Spearman's correlations were examined using the full sample, combined during the 2 years of data collection.

The variables of interest in the current study included questions about faculty experience with, and attitudes toward, several different types of technology; how faculty rate their institution's use of technology and technical support; and their use of, and attitudes toward, the learning management system (LMS). Faculty were also asked whether they would be more effective instructors if they were better skilled at integrating several different types of technology into their courses. IBM SPSS® Statistics version 23 software was used for data analysis.

Results and Outcomes

On examining changes in technology use over time, no significant changes were observed. However, average experience with all types of technologies covered in the survey was above the midpoint of the scale, mostly in the good range (i.e., approximately 4 on a scale of 1 to 5). The highest rated type of technology was communication technologies and the lowest was self-publishing. Of the many variables examined, two significant changes were observed across 2 years. Faculty showed significant gains in taking sufficient measures to keep data about their students secure, but significantly decreased in their attitudes about online learning helping students to learn more effectively (Table 1).


Faculty Experience With Classroom Technology

Table 1:

Faculty Experience With Classroom Technology

The ratings on various methods of using the institution's help desk were examined, such as telephone calls, e-mails, walk ins, available Fact, Answer, Questions, and an overall rating, and no significant changes were observed. No changes existed in faculty ratings of student preparedness for using technology, their interest for institutional alerts, or their opinion as to whether or not they would be more effective instructors if they were better skilled in using technology.

The relationships between faculty years of experience and the variables of interest in this study were investigated next. Respondents with more years of faculty experience tended to have higher ratings on their experience with classroom-base technologies (ρ = .32, p = .012), communication (ρ = .57, p ρ .001), online or virtual technologies (ρ = .44, p = .012), and more experience with specialized teaching software (ρ = .40, p = .025). They were also more satisfied with their frequency of software updates (ρ = .40, p = .026), their training with LMS (ρ = .36, p = .042), and their interactions with students on LMS (ρ = .22, p = .024) (Table 2).


Significant Spearman (rho) Correlations With Faculty Years of Experience

Table 2:

Significant Spearman (rho) Correlations With Faculty Years of Experience

Faculty with more years of experience tended to be less interested in online early alerts for suggestions about new academic resources for students (ρ = −.47, p = .011). Of specific interest are the results from the section asking faculty to rate whether they would be more effective instructors if they were better skilled at integrating certain technologies into their courses. Faculty with more years of experience were less likely to agree that their instruction would be improved if they were better skilled at integrating the LMS (ρ = −.21, p = .027), e-books (ρ = −.22, p = .023), Web-based content (ρ = −.24, p = .012), and lecture capture (ρ = −.20, p = .043).

Discussion

Faculty in this study rated their experience with the technology devices they adopt and use, devices that enhance the teaching–learning–working space, technologies for communication and making connections, and technologies used for providing support. Overall, the faculty in this study are making good use of new educational technology. This was already the case in 2014, the first year of this 2-year cohort study; therefore, the fact that there were few observed significant changes is not a cause for concern. One change of interest between the 2 years was the decrease in attitudes about online learning helping students to learn more effectively. This may be due to faculty becoming weary of using online learning, or simply continued problems with technology.

The most surprising results from this analysis are the negative relationships observed between years of faculty experience and attitudes toward the value of obtaining increased skills for technology integration within the curriculum. Although it may be expected that faculty with more years of experience may be more reluctant to change, this study's finding indicates that they also see less value in new technology to their personal instruction. Faculty with more years of experience were less likely to agree that improving their technology knowledge related to using the learning management system, e-books, Web-based content, and lecture capture would help them be a better instructor. Newer faculty were more likely to see the value in becoming better skilled at technology integration in their curriculum.

The current study findings related to LMS are somewhat parallel with the national results found in the ECAR report. The majority of nationally surveyed faculty, who have fewer than 10 years of experience used the basic features of LMS and generally agree that better LMS integration, use of e-books, Web-based content, and lecture capture, would enhance their teaching and learning experience (Dahlstrom & Brooks, 2014). One limitation of this study is that the ECAR survey did not request the faculty members' age, only his or her years of experience. Age and years of experience are certainly not one in the same, as faculty start at many different ages, but age and experience of course should still be highly related. Although the relationship does make intuitive sense, it is interesting to note that those with more experience in teaching are more reluctant to adopt new technologies or strategies into their courses, not only because they are reluctant to change, but because they see less value in the new skills.

Conclusion

The authors found that newer faculty were more likely than experienced faculty to have positive attitudes and motivation for newer technology use and adoption. The explanation for this is unclear from the current study. Future research studies are needed to focus on use of technology, adoption of technology, experience, and age of faculty. The authors predict that several contributing factors exist that influence the reluctance of experienced faculty to embark on new technologies. Clearly evident are the barriers mentioned earlier that contribute to the problem. Yedidia, Chou, Brownlee, Flynn, and Tanner (2014) discussed overcoming the emotional burden and burnout effects of nursing faculty by offering better information technology support services and further retaining faculty positions. Although the authors fully support the need for nursing administration to allocate necessary time, resources, and incentives for faculty, it is suggested that faculty members invest and take personal interest in using new or existing technologies to positively influence the process of learning, creativity in teaching, and quality of the learning experience.

Technology integration is important for student learning in the 21st century to understand complex nursing concepts and adequately prepare for practicing and interacting with emerging technologies, providing safe health care. Emerging technologies are changing the way health care is practiced in genetics, genomics, electronic health records, computerized physician or provider order entry and clinical decision support, tools for diagnosis and treatment, three-dimensional printing, robotics, and biometrics (Huston, 2013). National leaders in nursing emphasize the need for technology fluency and competency by nurse educators (National League for Nursing, 2015). They cited several nationally known nursing Web sites that recommend nurse educator competencies and technology skills, such as the following:

  • Technology informatics guiding education reform (TIGER) nursing informatics model, consisting of (a) basic computer competencies, (b) information literacy, and (c) information management.
  • Quality and Safety Education for Nurses defines and focuses on informatics as one of the core competencies for enhancing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of future nurses (Cronenwett et al., 2007).
  • Global Health Workforce Council developed Academic Curricula Competencies for Health Information Professionals to guide workforce training and development in health information management, health informatics, and health information technologies (American Health Information Management Association, 2015).
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials (2008, 2011) documents the necessary competencies for both baccalaureate and graduate students. They suggest that students be competent when using computers, information management, and technologies that are needed for providing patient care.

The following recommendations are offered to be considered as best practices by faculty interested in integrating innovative technologies in their instruction:

  • Gain motivation to use technology by identifying technologies that benefit your students' learning (Dahlstrom, 2015).
  • Become familiar with and acquire basic and necessary technology competencies to advance nursing education and teaching practices (Hebda & Calderone, 2010).
  • Rekindle technology integration approaches by auditing or enrolling in nurse education courses or related certificate programs.
  • Participate and engage in faculty development opportunities to hone knowledge, skills, and abilities for integrating and implementing technologies in teaching (Johnson, Wisniewski, Kuhlemeyer, Isaacs, & Krzykowski, 2012; Talcott, O'Donnell, & Burns, 2013).
  • Collaborate with instructional design and technology personnel to design and produce high quality instruction (Chen, Anderson, Hannah, Bauer, & Provant-Robishaw, 2015).
  • Consider heutagogical (i.e., self–determined learning) strategies to keep abreast of trending and evidence-based educational practices and embrace life-long learning and teaching, using technologies (Blaschke, 2012).

References

  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Washington, DC: Author.
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2011). The essentials of master's education in nursing. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/MastersEssentials11.pdf
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2012). Nursing faculty shortage. Retrieved from www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-faculty-shortage
  • American Health Information Management Association. (2015). Global Academic Curricula Competencies for Health Information Professionals. Retrieved from http://www.ahima.org/about/~/media/AHIMA/Files/AHIMA-and-Our-Work/AHIMA-GlobalCurricula_Final_6-30-15.ashx?la=en
  • Blaschke, L.M. (2012). Heutagogy and lifelong learning: A review of heutagogical practice and self-determined learning. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13, 56–71.
  • Chen, K.Z., Anderson, J., Hannah, E.L., Bauer, C. & Provant-Robishaw, C. (2015). Resolving bottlenecks: Converting three high-enrollment nursing courses to an online format. Journal of Nursing Education, 54, 404–408. doi:10.3928/01484834-20150617-09 [CrossRef]
  • Cronenwett, L., Sherwood, G., Barnsteiner, J., Disch, J., Johnson, J., Mitchell, P. & Warren, J. (2007). Quality and safety education for nurses. Nursing Outlook, 55, 122–131. doi:10.1016/j.outlook.2007.02.006 [CrossRef]
  • Dahlstrom, E. (2015). Educational technology and faculty development in higher education. Louisville, CO: ECAR. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/resources/2015/6/educational-technology-and-faculty-development-in-higher-education
  • Dahlstrom, E. & Brooks, D. (2014). Study of faculty and information technology, 2014. Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ers1407/ers1407.pdf
  • Hebda, T. & Calderone, T. (2010). What nurse educators need to know about the TIGER initiative. Nurse Educator, 35, 56–60. doi:10.1097/NNE.0b013e3181ced83d [CrossRef]
  • Huston, C. (2013). The impact of emerging technology on nursing care: Warp speed ahead!The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 18(2), Manuscript 1. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol18No02Man01 [CrossRef]
  • Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V. & Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon report: 2014 higher education edition. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.
  • Johnson, T., Wisniewski, M.A., Kuhlemeyer, G., Isaacs, G. & Krzykowski, J. (2012). Technology adoption in higher education: Overcoming anxiety through faculty bootcamp. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 12, 63–72.
  • Marzilli, C., Delello, J., Marmion, S., McWhorter, R., Roberts, P. & Marzilli, S. (2014). Faculty attitudes towards integrating technology and innovation. International Journal on Integrating Technology in Education, 3, 1–20. doi:10.5121/ijite.2014.3101 [CrossRef]
  • National League for Nursing. (2015). A vision for the changing faculty role: Preparing students for the technological world of health care. Retrieved from http://www.nln.org/docs/default-source/about/nln-vision-series-%28position-statements%29/a-vision-forthe-changing-faculty-role-preparing-students-for-the-technological-world-of-health-care.pdf?sfvrsn=0
  • Schmitt, T.L., Sims-Giddens, S.S. & Booth, R.G. (2012). Social media use in nursing education. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17, 2. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol17No03Man02 [CrossRef]
  • Talcott, K., O'Donnell, J.M. & Burns, H.K. (2013). Technology and the nurse educator: Are you ELITE?Nurse Educator, 38, 126–131. doi:10.1097/NNE.0b013e31828dc2a8 [CrossRef]
  • Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform. (2010). Informatics competencies for every registered nurse: Recommendations from the TIGER collaborative. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/llavelle/Downloads/tiger-report-informatics-competencies.pdf
  • Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-centered teaching: Five key changes to practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Williamson, K.M., Fineout-Overholt, E., Kent, B. & Hutchinson, A.M. (2011). Teaching EBP: Integrating technology into academic curricula to facilitate evidence-based decision-making. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 8, 247–251. doi:10.1111/j.1741-6787.2010.00192.x [CrossRef]
  • Yedidia, M.J., Chou, J., Brownlee, S., Flynn, L. & Tanner, C.A. (2014). Association of faculty perceptions of work-life with emotional exhaustion and intent to leave academic nursing: Report on a national survey of nurse faculty. Journal of Nursing Education, 53, 569–579. doi:10.3928/01484834-20140922-03 [CrossRef]

Faculty Experience With Classroom Technology

Learning/Work Resource2014, M (SD)2015, M (SD)
Classroom-based technology resources (e.g., computers, projection systems, lecture capture systems, SMART boards)4.06 (0.9)3.93 (1)
Laboratory or research-based technology resources (e.g., computers, research equipment)4.11 (0.8)3.58 (0.8)
Physical collaborative spaces (e.g., computer laboratories, testing centers, research laboratories, active learning classrooms)3.82 (1)3.77 (1.1)
Online collaborative spaces in which students or colleagues can work synchronously or asynchronously on projects or assignment (e.g., learning management system, Google™ Docs)3.95 (1)3.79 (0.6)
Reliable access to Wi-Fi networks throughout campus/laboratory facilities3.57 (1.3)3.86 (0.8)
Communication technologies (e.g., e-mail, instant messaging, Web-based conferencing services, social media)4.2 (0.8)4.21 (0.8)
Online or virtual technologies (e.g., network or cloud-based file storage system, Web portals)3.53 (1.1)3.31 (0.8)
Specialized teaching software3.29 (1.2)3.43 (0.6)
Self-publishing3.57 (0.5)3.22 (0.8)

Significant Spearman (rho) Correlations With Faculty Years of Experience

Experience/Servicerhop value
2.1a Experience with: Classroom-based technology resources.316.012
2.1a Experience with: Communication technologies.570.000
2.1a Experience with: Online or virtual technologies.440.012
2.1a Experience with: Specialized teaching software.401.025
3.3b Institutional alerts: Suggestions about new or different academic resources for your students−.465.011
3.4c More effective if better skilled with integrating: learning management system (LMS)−.212.027
3.4c More effective if better skilled with integrating: e-books or e-textbooks−.217.023
3.4c More effective if better skilled with integrating: Free, Web-based content−.238.012
3.4c More effective if better skilled with integrating: Lecture capture/recordings−.195.043
4.6d LMS: Ongoing training/professional development.361.042
4.6d LMS: Engaging in meaningful interactions with students.222.024
Authors

Dr. Kotcherlakota is Assistant Professor and Instructional Designer, Dr. Kupzyk is Assistant Professor, and Mr. Rejda is Instructional Technologist, College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska.

The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Address correspondence to Suhasini Kotcherlakota, PhD, Assistant Professor and Instructional Designer, College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 985339 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198; e-mail: skotcherlakota@unmc.edu.

Received: May 20, 2016
Accepted: September 02, 2016

10.3928/01484834-20170123-09

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