The choice not to use computers: A case study of community college faculty who do not use computers in teaching

Bradford R Stocker, Florida International University


The primary purpose of this investigation is to study the motives of community college faculty who decide not to use computers in teaching. In spite of the fact that many of the environmental blocks that would otherwise inhibit the use of the computers have been eliminated at many institutions, many faculty do not use a computer beyond its word-processing function. For the purpose of the study non-adoption of computers in teaching is defined as not using computers for more than word-processing. The issues in the literature focus on resistance and assume a pro-innovation and pro-adoption bias. Previous research on the questions is primarily surveys with narrowly focused assumptions. This qualitative research directly asks the participants about their feelings, beliefs, attitudes, experiences, and behaviors in regard to computers in teaching. Through the interview process a number of other correlated issues emerge. The investigation was conducted at Miami-Dade Community College, a large urban multicampus institution, in Miami-Dade, Florida. It was conducted through a series of in-depth phenomenological interviews. There were nine interviews; eight within the profile; two were pilots; and one was an extreme opposite of the profile. Each participant was interviewed three times for about 45 minutes. The results indicate that the computer conflicts with the participants' values in regard to their teaching and their beliefs in regard to the nature of knowledge, learning, and the relationship that they wish to maintain with students. Computers require significant changes in the values, beliefs, and consequent behaviors. These are changes that the participants are not willing to make without overwhelming evidence that they are worth the sacrifice. For the participants, this worth is only definable as it positively improves learning. For even the experts the evidence is not there. Unlike the innovator, the high end computer user, these participants are not willing to adopt the computer on faith.

Subject Area

Educational software|Teacher education|Community colleges

Recommended Citation

Stocker, Bradford R, "The choice not to use computers: A case study of community college faculty who do not use computers in teaching" (1999). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9952377.