UNIVERSITY TEACHERS' VIEWS ON THE USE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES IN TEACHING AND RESEARCH

 

ABSTRACT

Because of the potentialities and influences of information communication technologies (ICTs) in facilitating research and instruction in higher education, students' learning products and processes can no longer be restricted to ink on paper. The problem, however, is that ICT use for instructional purposes by staff members at institutions of higher education can be affected by socio-cultural perceptions in different contexts. This study used a convergent parallel mixed method design consisting of a survey followed by interviews to describe the views of a group of Iranian university teachers on the application of ICTs in teaching-learning processes as well as their reported uses of ICTs. 115 randomly selected full-time faculty members in social sciences, engineering, science, and the arts at three major universities in central Iran participated in the survey. Their familiarity with ICTs, their views about the instructional benefits of ICTs in higher education, and their reported uses of ICTs were studied using a researcher-made 20-item Likert-scale questionnaire. A purposive subsample of 15 was also interviewed to offer data on obstacles blocking their ICT use. The analyses of data showed that Iranian university teachers strongly agreed with the educational benefits of ICTs in higher education. In spite of this, they reported infrequent uses of ICTs for research and instruction. Limited resources and facilities, insufficient skills, lack of time for initial preparations, and policy-makersí little support and encouragement were reported as the most serious problems facing university teachers in the use of ICTs. Based on the results and the possible social, cultural, and economic limitations, the article highlights the necessity of promoting staff members' and policy-makersí knowledge of the educational potentials of ICTs as a major priority in in-service trainings.