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Statistical Thinking

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Statistical Thinking
Name of the Student
Statistical Thinking
Critique 1
Citation (Use APA style):
Elzarka, S. (2012): Technology Use in Higher Education Instruction, PhD Thesis at Claremont Graduate University, USA.
Research questions:
What are the variables that most impact the use of education technologies for instructional purposes in higher education?
Sub-research questions include:
What is the personal use of technology factors leading to professional adoption?
What learning benefits (as believed by faculty) predict technology adoption?
What are the self-perceptions of performance quality as an instructor (efficacy) and their impacts on technology use?
What are the impacts of institution policies regarding reward and workload reduction on technology use?
What is the relationship between technology use and barriers such as training provider and technical problem-solving?
Participants and sampling method:
203 higher education professionals from the education college department or college.
Using the membership list from a large professional organization a random number generator was selected 379 people, out of 22,540, who were asked to participate in the survey.
A limit of two participants per institution.
Independent Variable(s):
IVs were organized into the following overarching constructs:
Barrier to use of education tech (B)
Institutional policies – rewards and workload management (I)
Faculty teaching efficacy (E)
Learning benefits of technology use (L)
Personal technology use (P)
Dependent Variable:
The rate of technology adoption for professional instructional purposes.

Wait! Statistical Thinking paper is just an example!

Measurement of Variables:
Each of variables was measured though a series of questions administered as part of an online survey.
Each of the constructs had multiple questions or variables asked as measures of the construct.
There was a total of 65 variables were considered which measured the 5 constructs, with a focus on 20 that identified as important based on a review of the literature.
After potential respondents had been randomly selected two reminder emails were sent out and they were asked to complete an online survey and open-ended questions.
Diffusion of Innovation theoretical framework (DOI) was adopted to select the appropriate variables and terms of reference. The study was a qualitative, blinded, multi-centric and randomized with respect to gender and ethnicity. Participants were selected from large educational institutions to respond to the interview questions.
Statistical Analysis:
Path Analysis
The path model began with 14 exogenous variables, five intermediate endogenous variables, and one ultimate endogenous variable
Measures both direct and indirect relationships between variables.
Regression coefficients were used to determine which variables impact adoption the most.
Subgroups based on age, gender, full/part-time status, and tenure status were formed and path diagrams were formed for each.
Descriptive statistics was calculated for all variables
The lowest scored variable was efficacy: faculty knows students common misunderstandings and misconceptions.
The variable that consistently scored high was adopter rate for personal use.
In the open-ended questions participants reported that time to learn and experiment with technology, had access to updated and working equipment, and training that was relevant, effective, and on demand would increase their technology adoption.
All of the constructs had a significant relationship with adoption rate except institutional policy.
Limitations/Threats (Internal and External Validity):
Sampling selection- use of faculty from only education departments, identification of teaching level, and identification of public and private institutions.
External validity was diminished because the study was slated toward females then males.
Contribution to the Literature:
The researchers find that personal use of technology has the greatest impact on the use of educational technology in the class room.
Critique II
Theoretical Perspective
1.Critique the author’s conceptual framework.
The conceptual framework of this present study pivots around the growing use of technology in the field of education and its impact on learning. The growing use and importance of technology in the field of education have been recognized and documented through various findings. Such findings indicated the increase in online courses offered by various Universities, increase in the number of Universities offering online courses and the predictions of college presidents that within 10 years the number of students opting for online courses and use of digital text-books would be significantly higher. Hence, these observations led the author to believe that increased use of technology will increase the interactions of students with faculty members, increased engagement of students in the academic curriculum and may induce newer possibilities.
The author was governed by the findings that increased use of technology might reduce the need for delivering classroom lectures and engage such time may be used in problem-solving and application oriented knowledge. Thus, the conceptual framework was the realization of growing use of technology in the field of education, its potential implications for the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, and the ability of students and faculty members to adjust such changes in the medium of instruction or adoption of technology. The conceptualization of the author is appropriate regarding the basis of the study, because the key elements of understanding the need and effects of technology in higher education were well accommodated.
2.Comment on the need for this study and its importance.
With the increased use of technology in the field of education, it is also pertinent that the faculty and other school staffs should be well versant with the use of such technologies. The author suggested for the diffusion of digital technology to the various stakeholders concerned, the faculty must be versatile and well trained. Hence, it is important to identify the methods of communication, training, self-capabilities, efficacy and professional development of such personnel in adoption and utilization of technology in their educational settings. The study was very much pertinent because along with the increased use and need of technology in the educational setting and the need for trained faculty members, it was also recognized that it was challenging to identify the appropriate strategies which could lead to successful adoption and implementation of digital technology in educational settings.
Hence, the importance of the study was that it identified the potential variables related to skills, efficacy, problem-solving behavior, reasoning ability required by the faculty staff to implement and adapt to such technological revolution in the field of education. This study elucidated the most relevant variables which impacts use of educational technologies for instructional purposes in higher education.
The study would be helpful in selecting faculty members based on the necessary information technology skills which would be helpful to disseminate knowledge. Further, the study will also elucidate the specific training programs or skills which need to be inculcated in faculty staff already engaged in teaching for successful adoption and implementation of digital technology in educational settings.
3.How effectively does the author tie the study to relevant theory and prior research?
The author very well tied the present study to the relevant theories and finding of earlier researches in formulating the end points. The author evaluated both the perspectives of students and faculty members in formulating the end points of the present research. Studies indicated that most of the students were unaware and unfamiliar with the constructivist learning approaches. It was also felt that such use of digital technology should be learner-centric and must be compatible with both students and teachers. From the perspective of a student, studies indicated that students who did online homework exhibited greater learning and increased engagement than students who used traditional methods of doing their homework.
Computer-based video games were shown to promote greater learning than computer assisted instruction. Such observation helped the author to believe that most of the digital technologies used for educational purposes were faculty-centric. Studies identified that preparatory programs for teachers were needed to inculcate minimum technology standards. However, teachers who were competent and did not find technological support led to their job dissatisfaction and attrition.
On the other hand, teachers who did not have the necessary skills felt frustrated regarding the inability of putting digital technology in their settings. Hence, the author clearly unfolded the need to assess the skills, motivation, self-efficacy, student-oriented use of technology as the key driving factors for successful implementation and use of digital technology in educational settings.
4.Evaluate the clarity and appropriateness of the research questions or hypotheses.
The research questions were appropriate and the clarity of such questions was clearly elucidated through various sub-questions. The author correctly identified the variables which possibly impacted the use and implementation of digital technologies in higher education. The research questions were based on evaluating technology use in personal settings because it was peculated more the faculty members use technology in their personal settings, more they would be inclined to use such technologies in educational settings.
It also evaluated the perceived learning benefits which may increase the adoption of technology use in faculty members. Such evaluations are critical because until the specific skills or knowledge are not acquired; it will not be effective to inculcate the use of digital technology in such faculty members. The study also evaluated the self-perceptions of performance quality by using such digital technologies, because until the faculty if such benefits are not perceived, digital technology cannot be forced on the faculty for implementing them in educational settings. The research evaluated another critical aspect, of the impact of institutional policies, regarding the implementation of digital technology. Such policies should not be staunch and must be flexible; otherwise it may jeopardize the motivation of a faculty member. Finally, the research evaluated the barriers which prevented inculcation and implementation of technology in faculty members. This aspect is helpful in designing training programs and technical support for successful adoption of digital settings in educational settings.
Research Design and Analysis
5.Critique the appropriateness and adequacy of the study’s design in relation to the research questions or hypotheses.
The recent trends in globalization have potentiated the use of digital technology in all industries including higher education. Higher education needs to be fortified with digital technology in order to create its outreach in different populations irrespective of demographic or circadian barriers. With competition amongst higher educational institutions and the demand for skilled faculty is always on the rise. The research questions and hypothesis adequately addressed the appropriateness and adequacy of the study design in relation to the attributes required in faculty members. Such questions were person-centric, barrier centric, efficacy centric and training and policy-centric which are all important in inculcating the use of digital technology in faculty members. The hypotheses strongly endorsed that with the increase in such approaches faculty members will be more driven to adapt to digital technology. However, the study design should have made provisions for measurements for student’s learning needs and benefits from implemented digital technology as because prior studies did demonstrate that digital technology should be compatible with faculty and students.
6.Critique the adequacy of the study’s sampling methods (e.g., choice of participants) and their implications for generalizability.
The sampling methods used stratified random sampling along with purposive sampling. Moreover, the sample size was 379 which may be considered large enough for the study. However, only 203 members completed the study. The stratification was done on the base of race and ethnicity based on the survey respondents. While the initial purpose sampling was adjudicated so that individuals who were in the field of higher education were included in the study, while the individuals who were not involved with higher education was left out by default.
Such type of sampling was very appropriate since it reduced the chances of elemental bias and a non-disclosure of identity helped to maintain the ethics in research. Moreover, the sample which was collected was meant to match the population characteristics based on National Comparison figures. Such an approach is appreciated because it will provide power to the study. An online data generator was used to select randomly the samples and not more than two participants from one institution were considered by the sampling software. Such non-disclosure of identity and non-face to face surveys created greater approximations of views and opinions which would not have been possible through direct interviewing.
However, when the data was matched there were differences in the baseline characteristics of the lesser proportion of male being included in the study and greater proportion of females were considered for the study in comparison to the National comparison figures. Apart from skewness in gender, there existed skewness in ethnicity also. This is because Caucasians and Hispanics were predominantly included in the study compared to Asians or American Indians in comparison to their proportions in the National comparison figures. Such observations may lead to bias in the results as ethnicity might be a factor in adopting digital technology, which might not get reflected in this study.
7. Critique the adequacy of the study’s procedures and materials (e.g., interventions, interview protocols, data collection procedures).
The adequacy of study’s procedure and materials were appropriate in some instances while it needed areas of improvement in some instances. As the idea of sampling was very appropriate since it reduced the chances of elemental bias and a non-disclosure of identity helped to maintain the ethics in research. Moreover, a non-disclosure of identity and nonface-to-face method of interview helped the participants for reflecting their views and opinions regarding implementation features of digital technology in educational practice. Moreover, such interviews helped to identify certain personal and professional traits which would have been difficult to be revealed in physical interviewing of the participants and may have eroded their self-esteem. Since, it is noted that the number of participants who ultimately completed the study changed the demographic standardization, future studies should incorporate samples and back up data of participants from the same ethnic or gender, which did not complete the study. This way sample size will remain fixed and will provide more power to the study.
8.Critique the appropriateness and quality (e.g., reliability, validity) of the measures used.
The appropriateness and quality including the reliability and validity of the measures used were adopted measures as described in previous studies. The measures were created based on the technology adoption factors, the experiences of the principal investigator, and the elements enlisted on the DOI theoretical framework. First of all workload management and its importance in framing institutional policy was adopted from the works of Samarwickrema et al (1997), the importance of training program on learning impact was adopted form the study of Bennett et al (2003), the barrier constructs and items of reference were based on the DOI principle of change. Hence, all the measures were incorporated in the study were in line with prior pieces of evidence.
9. Critique the adequacy of the study’s data analyzes. For example: Have important statistical assumptions been met? Are the analyzes appropriate for the study’s design? Are the analyzes appropriate for the data collected?
The data analysis was adequate because all data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The descriptive statistics included the comparison of means and standard deviation from both current study and national norms, regarding each of the 20 path variables for all the faculty participants and the subgroups. Such analysis included age, gender, working status and tenure and the confounding factors to arrive at a conclusion. Regression analysis and correlation coefficients were used in path analysis to identify the most important variables which impacted the adoption of information technology in the faculty. Resultant path diagrams were plotted for all participants based on all the confounding variables. The path analysis was robust and in the final model out of 5 constructs initially considered, the institutional policy was excluded from the final model as the current study indicated that in relation to other constructs, it was not a significant variable found to impact the adoption of digital technology.
The statistical assumptions were not always met concerning standardization of the sample to the national comparison figures after evaluating the mean and standard deviations with respect to ethnicity and gender. However, the analysis and the statistical measures considered were quite appropriate concerning the statistical tests considered for the study. The regression equation was used to formulate the prediction models as to which are the independent variables that impact the adoption of technology and to what extent the magnitude of these variables impact the magnitude of the dependent variable (adoption technology). Step wise regression helped to assess the relation of two or more independent variables on the dependent variable to arrive at the most conclusive model.
Moreover, the level of significance selected for testing the various hypotheses were considered for the correlation coefficients and regression equations were considered at minimum 0.05 level. This meant if the p-value of a correlation coefficient or a regression equation was more than 0.05, it was considered that out of 100 observations more than 5 observations on correlation or regression has happened due to chance factors of random sampling, and the variables are not significant predictors in determining adoption to technology. On the other hand p<0.05, was the criteria where the experimental hypothesis was accepted. This meant out of 100 observations less than 5 observations on correlation or regression has happened due to chance factors of random sampling which can be considered minimum, and hence the independent variables (constructs) were indeed the significant predictors, for estimating adoption to technology.
Interpretation and Implications of Results
10.Critique the author’s discussion of the methodological and/or conceptual limitations of the results.
The author distinctly appraised the limitations regarding the selection of samples, bias in the identification of teaching levels, and the skewness which resulted in gender bias. Such aspects might have reduced the validity and the reliability of the reproduced results in relation to assessing the effect of constructs either alone or in relation to each other for predicting the dependent variable. It was acknowledged that only large educational institutions were incorporated in the study which does not reflect the national demography of all the institutions. Hence the responses of the participants might suffer from bias. Further, there was non-uniformity in the designation of individuals selected for the study, hence the use of digital technology in each levels were also different which perhaps evoked different responses that might be skewed as per the proportions of various teaching levels considered for the study. It could lead to either overestimation or underestimation of various constructs proposed to impact the dependent variable. Moreover, the study design did not segregate participants on the basis of private and public institutions which could have impacted the findings further.
11.How consistent and comprehensive are the author’s conclusions with the reported results?
The author findings were quite consistent and comprehensive with the reported results because each and every construct was evaluated at specific levels of statistical significance. For example, the author could categorize the preference and importance of independent variables impacting the dependent variable (adoption to technology) through the regression analysis and correlation coefficients. The construct or independent variable with the higher correlation coefficient was considered to be the most important driver for adoption to technology, provided the p-value for such coefficients should be at least less than 0.05. The lowest p-value for an independent variable marked its most important relevance in influencing the dependent variable of adoption to technology. Hence, the authors conclusion based on the reported results were concise and reproducible from the aspects of statistical validation.
12.How well did the author relate the results to the study’s theoretical base?
The reported resulted were thoroughly matched with the prior researches and the theoretical framework which was considered for the study. With regard to self –efficacy, barrier methods, the predominance of personal use were found to be the important variables impacting adoption to technology. Such findings were consistent with the theoretical base. However, the importance of institutional policies as a predictor variable for adoption to technology as portrayed in earlier researches was not complemented by the current study. However, sporadic responses from various participants do indicate that, institutional culture do drive adoption to technology by faculty members.
In your view, what is the significance of the study, and what are its primary implications for theory, future research, and practice?
The significance of the study is that it validated the various tools which are already implemented for enhancing the faculties’ skill for adapting to digital technology in higher education and it also unfolded the specific areas which need to be addressed further for smooth incorporation of implementation of digital technology by faculties in higher education. For example, the study reflected the huge reorientation of training programs are not required however, haring of best practices and inter-peer dissemination of skills should be given priority. Moreover, efficacy factors were considered to be critical to encouraging adoption of technology for instructional purposes. The present study might act as the guide to incorporate change agents in training and faculty support to enhance the effective use of technology.
Future research should be directed towards measurements of learning efficacy of students who are exposed to digital technology, rather than validating technology use by faculty. This is because measurement of learning will students will ultimately reflect the way faculty incorporated digital technology in the dissemination of knowledge. Although self-efficacy variables are pertinent, however, there can be chances of bias and peer level assessments should be undertaken to judge the technological skills of the participants. Institutional policies should be re-visited, under various categories to either include or exclude the relevance of such policies in future models of faculty development. Overall, the study was rather subjective and hence in future it could be made more objective with the modifications of study design as discussed above.
Future studies should also be conducted regarding a faculty’s perception of the digital technology as a resource medium for teaching and should not be imposed in higher education, because there has been a holistic consensus. It should be kept in mind that students still value the instructions and information of their Professor much higher than any wiki sources. The medium of disseminating knowledge should be left with the faculty and research may be conducted in specific fields of higher education as to which fields needs to be prioritized for inculcating adoption to digital technology. Such an initiative would not only save time but will help in resource partitioning and cost –effectiveness of institutions of higher education.

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