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Mobile technology in college instruction: Faculty perceptions and barriers to adoption

Phillip H Hauptman, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Smartphone ownership by college students has reached 90% and by all indications ownership is still increasing. Smartphones and tablets like the Apple iPad® have attributes of information retrieval, media display and communications desirable for instruction. Furthermore, students voluntarily bring these devices to campus and are engaged in their use; this makes mobile devices an attractive resource to exploit for instruction. However, integrating mobile devices into delivering courses is not a simple task; time, expertise and resources are required. To take advantage of this resource it is important to understand the current state of technology use by faculty and their perceptions about mobile devices, student use of these devices and perceived barriers to adopting mobile technology. A mixed-methods design used survey and interview data to explore current technology use and faulty perceptions of mobile devices. Phase-one of the study invited 1152 faculty from a Midwestern Land-grant university to participate in a survey, 594 (52%) surveys were completed. A Kendall’s τ analysis found a significant positive correlation (τ = 0.288, n = 535, p = 0.01) between the number of technologies faculty were using at the time of the survey and their agreement that more mobile technology should be incorporated into the curriculum. The survey indicated 43% (top-two box) agreed or strongly agreed that mobile technology should be incorporated into instruction. Phase-two interviewed 28 faculty selected from the completed survey responses. Results revealed that faculty perceive mobile technology as potentially useful but are unsure of how to implement it, want to see empirical results of efficacy, don’t have the time to invest in adoption, and lack access to expert advice and devices. Faculty also expressed a desire for peer-to-peer support through communities of practice for the sharing of ideas, successes and failures around mobile integration. Overall, faculty are interested in adopting new technologies but feel constrained. Recommendations include further research into the efficacy of mobile technology to improve learning outcomes and engagement, increased administrative support for technology integration and the development of communities of practice to improve technology transfer.

Subject Area

Instructional Design|Educational technology

Recommended Citation

Hauptman, Phillip H, "Mobile technology in college instruction: Faculty perceptions and barriers to adoption" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3712404.