Academic Social Networks Affecting the Adoption of E-Learning in Turkey

Academic Social Networks Affecting the Adoption of E-Learning in Turkey

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Academic Social Networks Affecting the Adoption of E-Learning in Turkey SIEW MEE BARTON Deakin University, Australia [email protected] BRIAN CORBITT RMIT University, Australia [email protected] LEMAI NGUYEN Deakin University, Australia [email protected] This article reports findings from an ethnographic study of e-learning adopters in Turkey and examines ways in which cultural factors shape the adoption and use of information technology for online teaching. This research focuses on influ- ential early adopters in the tertiary education sector in Turkey who have become change agents by inspiring small networks of their peers into e-learning. The study examines the opera- tion of trust and inspiration in networking and teamwork in the Asian academic environment. A key finding of this research is that the early adopters of e-learning tend to become change agents in small groups and networks. This research sheds light on the mechanisms by which the process of e-learning adop- tion relies on social networks and connections. The Growing Adoption of E-Learning by Universities BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATION E-learning (also often referred to as online learning ) can be defined as the delivery of teaching programs using information and communication tech- nologies related to the Internet (Chadha & Kumail, 2002). Online technolo- gies for learning vary across educational institutions and regions of the International Jl. on E-Learning (2009) 8 (4), 561-575
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world, but are often used from a management perspective. As such, they pro- vide competitive advantages to the University, expand the student base as well as the international marketplace, and offer cost efficiency in providing distance education. Universities often point out that e-learning benefits to their learners include flexible learning time, pervasive access, and self con- trol of the learning pace. While such benefits repeatedly appear in online learning books, journal articles, presentations, and news reports, the literature addressing the adop- tion of e-learning by another group of end users – the teachers – is rather limited. In response, this article describes and reports findings from an ethnographic study that attempted to gain a deep understanding of the cul- tural factors affecting the adoption of e-learning by academics in Turkey. E-Learning – An Innovation in the Community of Teachers and Learners According to the theory of diffusion of innovation by Rogers (1995), the adoption of an innovation is a process which occurs over time among the members of a social system. There are four main elements which influence the adoption process: (1) the innovation itself; (2) the social system within which the innovation is diffused among its members; (3) the communication channels through which messages about the innovation are communicated between the members; and (4) the awareness, persuasion, decision making, and adoption that takes place over time. In this study, the uptake of e-learn- ing (i.e., the innovation) within any University (i.e., the social system) can
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  • Spring '10
  • Roth
  • E-learning, Virtual learning environment, Learning management system, online teaching, Social Networks Affecting

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