Marica's meanderings

Friday, November 12, 2004

The downside of technology

I am felling particularly technologically challenged while here in Australia. All I want is a fast internet access so I can do what I have to and then get onto the next thing.

So much has happened in the past four days so I decided to slow the pace down a bit by not attending the Net*Working live event I had planned to go to this morning. Instead I thought I would take advantage of technology to participate in the conference from my hotel room. I anticipated it would all be very straightforward and boy was I wrong.

I have just spent the last three hours trying to answer emails and connect to the conference site - it has been painful to put it mildly. My connection speed is…wait for it – 28 Kbps! I haven’t experienced a connection speed this slow since I first began using the internet. Ironically the presentation I wanted to listen to was Zane Berge’s presentation on Barriers to elearning.

Here are some details of the presentation:

Zane L. Berge, Ph.D
berge@umbc.edu
http://www.emoderators.com/
Survey can be found here.
This presentation reports on a large-scale (n = 1056), exploratory factor analysis study that determined the underlying constructs that comprise student barriers to online learning. The eight factors found were (1) administrative issues, (2) social interaction, (3) academic skills, (4) technical skills, (5) learner motivation, (6) time and support for studies, (7) cost and access to the Internet, and (8) technical problems. Independent variables that significantly affected student ratings of these barrier factors included: gender, age, ethnicity, type of learning nstitution, self-rating of online learning skills, effectiveness of learning online, online learning enjoyment, the number of online courses completed, the likelihood of taking a future online course, and persons who reported experiencing prejudicial treatment.

I have yet to be able to view or listen to the presentation. My computer is still trying to download the necessary programme so I can do this. Meanwhile I have been having a synchronous chat with my mentor Chris from Noosa via MSN Messenger. She is also online participating in this conference and she is feeding me information while I am waiting for something to happen at my end.

I note that two barriers listed above are of particular relevance to me at the moment – access to the internet and technical problems. As I am getting more and more frustrated I look out the window and see the sun shining and I keep thinking what am I doing here???? I wonder what one of my students would do? I don’t think I would be wrong in guessing that most would have well and truly given up by now.

Ironically I have still managed to participate in this session in a minimal way through Chris. I have been able to read through the handout materials and the PowerPoint presentation and then forward questions to Chris and ask her to raise them for me.

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