WebCT in your life – Kim Holland

At Western (yes I know the full name) about one third of the undergraduate classes use Webct. This percentage varies from faculty to faculty and from department to department. To look at the most recent data (2008) check out http://www.uwo.ca/its/reach/ITSOpPlanUpdate-Dec08.pdf. As the data in this file shows, over time more classes are using this learning management system with the  attendant increase in students and the greater uptake of instructor use.  What I find surprising is the variability between units. Some like Brescia have 47% of their courses using Webct OWL while Richard Ivey School of Business has 3%. Why the difference? Are there cultural differences between Faculties? Yes there are. Just are individuals vary in their uptake of technological tools so do departments. Does age, of the instructor, play a role? Yes it does? Younger faculty members find it less difficult to use this technology. Does the size of the class you are teaching play a role? Yes it does. Larger classes (lower level as in first year) have greater use of WebCT OWL. There are undoubtedly other possible explanations as well. But still 3% to almost 50% is a wide gap. So my question remains, why should it be?

I personally feel, that the decision to use Webct in your class, being an individual instructor decision, is greatly affected by seeing it used effectively by others. In other words, what are your colleagues doing, and what are they saying.

What do you think?