Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Higher Education PhD

First Advisor

John Saltmarsh

Second Advisor

Tara L. Parker

Third Advisor

Shanna Smith Jaggars


The role community college faculty play in developing and teaching asset-based, student-centered, and humanized online courses is critical to a college's ability to use online education to improve student success. The study’s purpose is to examine community college faculty attitudes regarding the adoption of online education innovations and the implications for access and equity. A survey, grounded in Rogers' (2003) diffusion of innovation (DoI) theory and based on Moore and Benbasat’s (1991) instrument for measuring the perceptions of adopting an information technology innovation, was used to explore the adoption of online education at community colleges. Data from faculty focus groups and online learning leader interviews were also used to further enhance the survey development. Of the participants (N=405) in this study, 93% had a positive attitude toward and 72% have adopted online education innovations. A large majority (71%) of participants’ motivations to teach online were student-centered –to increase the access and flexibility of postsecondary education, followed by personal flexibility and convenience (58%). A binomial logistic regression analysis identified eight significant variables explaining MA community college adoption of online education: felt need or problem, voluntariness, full-time and tenured, parents with no college degree, institutional status and reputation, how-to knowledge, result demonstrability, and attitudes and beliefs. Many of the technological, economic, and pedagogical online education innovations participants adopt were also identified. These findings pose important implications for policy, practice, and research relevant to technology use and skills, training and development, course design and technical support, quality issues, and workload and compensation.


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