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Computer Supported Collaboration: Is the Transfer of Cognitive Structures Mediated by Mode of Communication?

Description: The objective of this study was to observe evidence of structural transfer among subjects in a group problem-solving activity and determine whether mode of collaborative technology or use of a priming agent affected the nature of transferred structures. Evidence for structural transfer is found in three theoretical perspectives: organizational ditransitive (linguistic) verb structures, adaptive structuration theory, and mental model transfer theory. Dependent variables included various grammatical structures and coefficients derived from pretest and posttest scores on David Kolb's Learning Styles Inventory, modified for the experiment. The combination of changes in grammatical frequencies and learning style may suggest that one or more media or the priming agent may affect structural transfer. Results indicate that groups using the GroupSystems™ collaborative technology produced less overall linguistic content than did subjects using a generic chat system, but employed more complex language as indicated by frequency of the organizational ditransitive verb structure. Also, subjects supplied with an organization chart (priming agent) during the group problem-solving session experienced greater change on the learning styles inventory than did those participating in the session without the chart. These findings suggest that mode of communication and use of priming agents may contribute positively or negatively to the transfer of structures among group members. Researchers, collaborative system designers, organizational leaders, trainers & educators, and frequent collaborative technology system end-users should be aware of these potential affects. Suggestions for future research are provided. Relationship of theoretical foundations of structural transfer to constructivism is discussed.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Bandy, Kenneth E.

An evaluation of job satisfaction among salespersons in a small department store using four psychological measures.

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the potential of three independent psychological scales (Rotter's Locus of Control, Karasek's Job Content Questionnaire [non-injury job stress], and Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale) to predict job satisfaction, as measured by Brayfield and Rothe's Index of Job Satisfaction, among salespersons in a small independent department store in Wichita Falls, Texas. An 82-item survey which examined the dynamics of a salesperson's work life was administered to 20 individuals who were full-time employees of the department store. Demographic data were also gathered although these factors were not entered into the regression analysis. A multiple regression procedure examined the responses of the 20 employees who participated in the study. The R-squared coefficient indicates that 41 percent of the variance in Job Satisfaction was explained by the three predictor measures. A major proportion of this unexplained variance may be in variables outside the scope of this study, e.g., salaries, vacation time, benefits, bonuses, or commissions. Results suggest that the independent variables measured by the Locus of Control Scale and the Job Content Questionnaire in combination were the best predictors of job satisfaction with a significance level of .01. The single best predictor was the Job Content Questionnaire, significant at .03. The three instruments (Locus of Control, Self-Esteem, and Job Content Questionnaire) which comprised the independent variables, reached a significance level of .03 in their prediction of job satisfaction (Brayfield-Rothe Index of Job Satisfaction). Study results indicate that a majority of the employees in the sample population were satisfied with their jobs and with the leadership style manifested by the store manager. In addition, job security was believed to be satisfactory. Inasmuch as there is a void in the literature regarding personal characteristics of salespersons as variables that interact with job satisfaction, comparisons of the findings of this research ...
Date: May 2002
Creator: Webb, Ruth Sherrill

An examination of computer anxiety related to achievement on paper-and-pencil and computer-based aircraft maintenance knowledge testing of United States Air Force technical training students.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine whether varying levels of computer anxiety have an effect on computer-based testing of United States Air Force technical training students. The first chapter presents an overview of computer-based testing, defines key terms, and identifies questions addressed in the research. The rationale for conducting this study was that little research had been done in this area. The second chapter contains a review of the pertinent literature related to computer-based testing, computer anxiety, test reliability, validity, and gender differences in computer use. Due to the lack understanding concerning any effects of computer anxiety on computer-based testing, this has been a worthwhile topic to explore, and it makes a significant contribution to the training field. The third chapter describes the qualitative research methodology used to conduct the study. The primary methodology was an analysis of variance comparison for groups of individuals who displayed high or low computer anxiety to their respective mean computer-based or paper-based aircraft maintenance knowledge testing scores. The research population consisted of United States Air Force aircraft maintenance craftsmen students attending training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. The fourth chapter details the findings of the study. The findings indicate that there was no significant difference between the groups of students rated with high computer anxiety and low computer anxiety while testing with computers. Additionally, no significant differences were detected while testing alternative hypotheses covering differences between groups of students rated with high computer anxiety and low computer anxiety testing by traditional paper-and pencil methods. Finally, a reference section identifying the literature used in the preparation of this dissertation is also included.
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Date: May 2002
Creator: McVay, Richard B.

The Effect of Professional Development Training for Secondary Mathematics Teachers Concerning Nontraditional Employment Roles for Females

Description: This quasi-experimental study, utilizing quantitative and qualitative descriptive methods, examined the sex-egalitarian attitudes of secondary mathematics teachers from the Ft. Worth Independent School District. A video tape, Women in the Workplace, was used as a training intervention to test the effectiveness of professional development training in altering the mathematics teachers' sex-egalitarian attitudes towards female employment. Information on the video presented seven jobs that provide opportunities for female students in the science, engineering, and technology fields that are considered nontraditional jobs for females. Subjects completed 19 Employment Role domain questions on the King and King (1993) Sex-Role Egalitarianism Scale. A one-way ANOVA was applied to the data to test for a significant difference in the means of the control group, who did not see the video, and the experimental group that viewed the video. Findings concluded that there was no significant difference in the sex equalitarian mean scores of the control group and the experimental group. The research indicated that it takes an intensive and prolonged training period to produce a significant change in people's attitudes. This study supports the research on length of training needed to change sex egalitarian attitudes of classroom teachers. There were data collected on four demographic areas that included gender, age, ethnicity, and years of teaching experience. A two-way ANOVA was applied to four demographic variables to test for interaction and main effect. A significant difference was found between the sex-egalitarian attitudes of male and female mathematics teachers' responses. There were no significant differences found in the sex egalitarian attitudes of secondary mathematics teachers when categorized by levels of age, ethnicity, and years of teaching experience. The information in this study should interest and benefit teachers, parents, students, administrators, and industry leaders.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Delp, Don J.

Assessing the Efficacy of Learning Communities at Four North Texas Community Colleges.

Description: This observational study involving intact groups and convenient sampling examined learning communities at four North Texas Community Colleges. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a significant difference in cathectic learning climate, inimical ambiance, academic rigor, affiliation and structure among students in learning communities and freestanding classes. Learning communities are gaining nationwide popularity as instruments of reform in Higher Education. Recent studies have discussed the benefits of learning communities to student, faculty and institutions. As learning communities are gaining popularity, especially at the community college level, there is a need to determine if the learning communities are significantly different than freestanding classes. The College Classroom Environment Scales, developed by Winston, Vahala, Nichols, Gillis, Wintrow, and Rome (1989), was used as the survey instrument for this study. Using SPSS 10.1, a multivariate analysis of variance, (Hotelling's T2) was performed on five dependent variables: cathectic learning climate (CLC), inimical ambiance (IA), academic rigor (AR), affiliation (AF), and structure (ST), which yielded a significant difference. The independent variable was learning community compared to freestanding classes (group). Follow-up independent t tests were also conducted to evaluate the differences in the means between the two groups and to explore which dependent variables contributed to the multivariate difference, which resulted in significant differences in inimical ambiance, affiliation and structure. The researcher concludes that learning communities make a difference for some learners, but not necessarily all and that more research needs to be conducted to find the answers to the questions concerning the efficacy and sustainability of learning communities in higher education.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Dodd, Patricia M.

Learning Style and Preferred Mode of Delivery of Adult Learners in Web-Based, Classroom, and Blended Training

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between adult learners' preferred learning style and preference for delivery mode. The subjects (n=61) were technical and billing support call center employees from an Internet company in Dallas, Texas. The participants were randomly assigned to one of six groups and given Kolb's Learning Style Inventory to assess their preference for learning style. They received training on three modules of “Influencing Others Positively,” with each module delivered via one of three methods (web-based, classroom, and blended). Participants were also administered two surveys. The first survey collected demographic information and asked which method that they expected they would prefer. The second survey was administered after the course and asked them to rank their preferences for delivery method. It was hypothesized that learning style would be significantly associated with preference for delivery method. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and a chi-square test of independence for the variables learning style and preferred mode of delivery. Although the chi-square test of independence did not produce statistical significance, some interesting trends were identified in the data. Specifically, a majority of the participants preferred a blended approach to training delivery (a combination of self-paced web-based training and classroom group exercises). No Divergers preferred classroom training and no Accommodators preferred web-based training. Additionally, a logistic regression analysis indicated that Assimilators were six times more likely than Divergers to prefer a blended approach to training (p=.10). Further studies should utilize other learning style theories, explore different types of learning outcomes and delivery methods, and include a larger sample from different organizations. Training needs assessments should include learning style inventories as part of the audience analysis prior to training development.
Date: August 2002
Creator: McFeely, David

Levels of resourcefulness and motivation as they relate to sales force success: An examination of correlates using the hope theory.

Description: This study sought to determine whether a relationship existed between individual salesperson's levels of goal-directed cognition and motivation and their professional success as determined by the percentage of sales goals achieved. Salespersons represented two companies with national sales forces: one from the financial services industry and one from the apparel manufacturing industry. Both groups of salespeople were responsible for complex selling tasks. The skill sets for these professionals included high levels of communication skills, extensive product knowledge, and competitive market knowledge. Survey research, both paper and pencil and online, was conducted using the Hope Scale developed by C. R. Snyder and associates (1991). Hope is defined as a two-dimensional construct of goal-directed thinking: resourcefulness, thoughtful planning to overcome obstacles to goals, and motivation, cognition to sustain momentum toward goal achievement. Theoretically, upon assessing salespersons' Hope scores, organizations would be better prepared to assist those with low Hope Scale Scores (HSS) in one of the two areas. Those with low resourcefulness scores could be trained in cognitive techniques to overcome obstacles to goal achievement. Those with low motivational scores would be identified for further analysis, from a developmental perspective, to better determine what personally initiates and sustains motivation to attain their goals (Snyder, 1991). This study affirmed two of three parts of the hope theory with regard to salespeople. High Hope scores showed significant correlations with high goal achievement, as did one of the subset scores, motivation. The resourcefulness subset score did not correlate significantly with high goal achievement, and also produced low reliability scores.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Pool, Patricia W.

Perceptions of Preservice Educators, Inservice Educators, and Professional Development Personnel Regarding Effective Methods for Learning Technology Integration Skills

Description: This study examined educators' preferences for learning technology integration skills in order to provide the education community with justifiable data concerning the need for educator training alternatives. A survey was distributed to compare preservice educators, inservice educators, and professional development personnel's perceived effectiveness of eight training methods (N=759). The four research questions examined were: Do differences exist among preservice educators, inservice educators, and professional development personnel in the perceived effectiveness of different methods for learning technology integration skills? (2) Do differences exist among preservice educators, inservice educators, and professional development personnel in the perceived effectiveness of different methods for learning technology integration skills when categorized by age? (3) Do differences exist among preservice educators, inservice educators, and professional development personnel in the perceived effectiveness of different methods for learning technology integration skills when categorized by total hours of instruction? (4) Do differences exist among preservice educators, inservice educators, and professional development personnel in the perceived effectiveness of different methods for learning technology integration skills when categorized by locus of control? All groups were measured for similarities and differences in preferences on credit classes, workshops, open computer labs, technology personnel support, peer support, online help, printed documentation, and trial and error. In addition, those training preferences were cross-referenced with age, training hours, and the locus of control personality factor. MANOVAs and post-hoc analyses were performed for each major research question as well as trends in the data were examined. This study indicated that the most effective training methods were technical support, peer support, and credit courses. The least effective training methods were online help, printed documentation, workshops, and computer labs. Age, amount of training hours, and locus of control score did not provide as much information as did educator type when predicting training preference. Based on the findings of this study, ...
Date: December 2002
Creator: Robinson, Linda Marie McDonald

An Investigation into Motivations of Instructors Teaching Business and Technical Internet-Based Courses at Two-Year Colleges

Description: This research was conducted to determine why two-year community college instructors teach over the Internet. By understanding why these instructors teach over the Internet, colleges can recruit more instructors to teach using the Web thus allowing colleges to offer more Internet courses. They can also use the information to keep the instructors who are currently teaching over the Internet satisfied, and motivate them to continue to teach. To gather this information, a questionnaire was created and evaluated for reliability and validity during a pilot study. It was then sent to those instructors who taught over the Internet, and had their e-mails available on their campus Website. A 30.5% response rate (N=100) was achieved. The survey was divided into two sections, a demographics section and a Likert scale dealing with motivation. The Likert scale had six choices ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree and 31 statements. The demographic data were reported and summarized. The Likert items were examined using factor analysis techniques, and a number of components were discovered. Eight components, made up of the 31 variables from the Likert scale were found using the factor analysis. The eight components in order are labeled: Technical and Computer Challenges, School Promotion, Student Preferences, Personal Benefits, Receiving Computerized Assistance, Growth and Knowledge, Textbook Company Assistance, and Pay.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Swartwout, Nansi. A.

The relationship between training in learning style adaptation and successful completion of entry-level community college classes.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between training in learning style adaptation and successful completion of community college courses. The rationale for conducting this study was based on the need for students to learn how to adapt their learning style in order to more effectively learn in any situation. It is also important that community colleges implement strategies that assist in student retention. The learning styles of entry-level community college students were measured using Kolb's Learning Style Inventory Version 3. Students enrolled in entry-level college courses at a small North Texas community college were studied. The Chi-square Test of Independence with a 2 x 2 design was employed. Findings indicated that there was no statistically significant difference in the relationship between students receiving training in learning styles adaptation and successful completion of entry-level college courses, and that students who attended a learning styles training session and those who did not attend a learning styles training session had an equal chance of succeeding in entry-level community college courses. Findings also indicated that students with Accommodating and Assimilating learning styles are less likely to successfully complete an entry-level college course than are students with Diverging or Converging learning styles, yet students with Diverging and Converging learning styles might withdraw from a course rather than risk being unsuccessful. Finally, findings indicated that students who are dissatisfied with the college course and with the instructor of the college course withdraw from college courses.
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Date: December 2002
Creator: Ferrell, Dawn M.