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Give Them Grace: An Autoethnographic Study on Instructors’ Adaptation to Online Technology in Education as a Result of COVID-19

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Faculty Development Lighting Talk Session 1: COVID-19 Focus

Tagged Division

Faculty Development Division

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37225

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

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Jazmin Jurkiewicz Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Jazmin Jurkiewicz is a second-year PhD student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She holds degrees in Chemical Engineering (B.S.) and Engineering - Innovation, Sustainability, and Entrepreneurship (M.E.). Her research interests include emotions in engineering, counseling-informed education, inclusive practices, and teaching teams in STEM education.

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Byron Hempel The University of Arizona Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-1410-1633

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Byron Hempel is an instructor in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Arizona, teaching classes focusing on the Food-Energy-Water Nexus and the Grand Challenges faced by Environmental Engineers in the 21st Century. He received his PhD in Environmental Engineering with a focus in Engineering Education. His PhD work, under Dr. Paul Blowers, focused on improving the classroom environment in higher education by working in active learning environments.

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Malori Redman San Francisco State University

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Homero Murzi Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3849-2947

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Homero Murzi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech with honorary appointments at the University of Queensland (Australia) and University of Los Andes (Venezuela). He holds degrees in Industrial Engineering (BS, MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Engineering Education (PhD). Homero is the leader of the Engineering Competencies, Learning, and Inclusive Practices for Success (ECLIPS) Lab. His research focuses on contemporary and inclusive pedagogical practices, emotions in engineering, competency development, and understanding the experiences of Latinx and Native Americans in engineering from an asset-based perspective. Homero has been recognized as a Diggs Teaching Scholar, a Graduate Academy for Teaching Excellence Fellow, a Global Perspectives Fellow, a Diversity Scholar, a Fulbright Scholar, and was inducted in the Bouchet Honor Society.

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Christopher Dominguez

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Amber Ford

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Amber Ford is a high school agricultural educator and advisor to Key Club, Knowledge Bowl, and FFA in southern Arizona. She earned her B.S. in Natural Resources, with an emphasis in wildlife conservation and management, and her master's degree in Agricultural Education from the University of Arizona.

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Abstract

This research paper describes the study of instructors’ experiences adapting to new technology as education shifted to an online format as a result of COVID-19. The experience of adapting to technology is one that we all must encounter multiple times throughout our lives. However, we often are willing to make these changes in order to keep up with modern advances or progress in our professional careers. The experiences faced when confronted with a global pandemic and continuing education are shared phenomena for teachers, students, and even parents.

This autoethnographic study sought to understand commonalities in five instructors’ attitudes toward online education tools, external variables that affected their adaptation, and their overall perceptions of the technology and its usefulness. The research design was guided by the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). The TAM describes an individual user’s process to accept a new technology. Participants represent a range of disciplines, teach at various educational levels, are spread geographically across the United States, and have less than five years of teaching experience. Semi-structured interviews were conducted over Zoom. Taking an autoethnographic approach, data analysis was a collaborative effort.

Data analysis consisted of two main components: deductive analysis guided by the TAM framework and inductive analysis to encompass experiences outside the TAM framework. Deductive analysis was able to represent much of the participants’ experiences as they adapted to online learning. Actions participants were able to take were often dictated by the institution they are a part of or another governing body such as school districts or state governments. Participants recognized the usefulness of various technologies and tools but did not inherently view them or the experience of teaching online in a positive way compared to teaching in-person. Much of their use of technology and determining whether or not to continue the use of a tool came through trial and error and was accompanied by frustration. Many noted the shift in communication with students from face-to-face to heavy reliance on email, which students were not accustomed to. Inductive analysis detailed interactions between instructors and students, in addition to peers. All participants noted the need to practice empathy with their students and themselves. Interactions with peers served as a support mechanism, often involving group reflection to understand which teaching practices were working while allowing for collaborative effort amidst trial and error.

The results indicate that adapting to and accepting new technologies was necessary to continue providing a space for students to learn. The duality of participants caring for themselves and their students marked a need to establish new boundaries in how they worked and their desire to sustain morale for their students. Institutions that provided resources for learning new tools and encouraged their faculty to indulge in self-care led to a smoother transition to online learning for participants. We provide implications for research, policy, and practice. The authors’ preferred presentation format is the lightning talk.

Jurkiewicz, J., & Hempel, B., & Redman, M., & Murzi, H., & Dominguez, C., & Ford, A. (2021, July), Give Them Grace: An Autoethnographic Study on Instructors’ Adaptation to Online Technology in Education as a Result of COVID-19 Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37225

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