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Working together: The role of collaborations in promoting the use of academic technologies in higher education

Kate Hudson, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Through the centuries, institutions of higher education, and the people who labor in those institutions, have helped countless millions to learn—to stretch their boundaries, to think creatively, to find joy in discovery, and to create new knowledge that benefits the world in a myriad of ways. Yet while the knowledge produced through our educational process has transformed the world, the process of teaching and learning within these institutions has remained largely unexplored and unchanged over the centuries (Bass, 2009; Duderstadt, Atkins, & Van Houweling, 2002; Woolsey, 2008). In recent years, the advent and rapid development of information technology has provided us with a previously unimaginable opportunity to rethink how teaching and learning take place in higher education. In order to make the most of potential gains in teaching and learning, academic technology initiatives require both technological and pedagogical expertise. However, while the need for effective collaborations between the groups responsible for these two areas, the Offices of Academic Computing and Centers for Teaching at institutions of higher education has been articulated (Albright & Nworie, 2008; Allison & DeBlois, 2008; Woolsey, 2008), the mechanisms for developing and maintaining such collaborations are not clearly understood (Albright & Nworie, 2008; Ives & Steinbrenner, 2005). In an effort to fill this gap in knowledge, this study focuses on generating a portrait of successful collaborative efforts between academic technology professionals and pedagogical specialists. Using multiple case studies as a methodological approach, this study examines the characteristics of collaboration at three universities, including their history; factors that lead to the successful establishment of collaborations; challenges and barriers and how these are approached; and whether there is evidence that collaborations result in better outcomes in the implementation of academic technology. The study is particularly timely given that information technology is playing an increasingly central role in every aspect of higher education. A better understanding of the characteristics of inter-group collaborations around academic technology, including the barriers to creating effective collaborative relationships, will help institutions respond to the challenge of harnessing technology’s potential to positively transform the process of teaching and learning in contemporary higher education.

Subject Area

Higher Education Administration|Educational technology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Hudson, Kate, "Working together: The role of collaborations in promoting the use of academic technologies in higher education" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3427536.