September 10, 2012

Research on the integration of IT into college-level teaching: more than yesterday, less than tomorrow

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

Translation: Jim Edwards; revision: Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood The translation of this article is funded by Québec’s ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, through contributions from the Canada-Québec Agreement on Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction.


Researchers who focus on the integration of IT into college-level teaching are undoubtedly concerned about communicating the results of their work. This is reflected by the jump in the number of entries between the second and third editions of the Inventaire des recherches (1985-2012) concernant l’intégration des technologies de l’information et de la communication à l’enseignement collégial (inventory of research conducted from 1985 to 2012 on the integration of information and communication technologies into college-level teaching). About 100 entries appear in the second edition (2003), while the third edition (2012) contains about 400 entries─four times as many! The conclusions these researchers reached prove to be of great importance, because they point to the best practices, suggest new applications and help avoid common mistakes. This profusion has also given ARC the impetus to proceed to another update: a new phase of its metasynthesis of the results of conditions that can promote successful integration of IT into college-level teaching(an English version of these articles is currently in process), now under way.

The new edition of the inventory presents some 400 entries (in English or in French) followed by the list of the 134 documents processed in order to locate them, and four indexes, one for each criterion: the name of each of the 213 authors; the title of the entry; the year of publication; and, in the case of research reports, the names of the 34 institutions (or bodies) responsible for the research. Many of the titles added to this edition can be accessed online, thereby facilitating consultation. The content of the updated inventory shows that technologies have continued to expand, burgeoning in fields where a decade ago their presence was barely noticeable, especially with respect to the generalized use of networks and the proliferation of mobile devices. Perspectives also change: while the first experiments in the 1980s and 1990s dealt with the impacts of technologies, today the focus has switched to innovation, management, culture, values and human factors associated with motivation. New technological and social contexts, new concerns, new issues!

The publication of the third edition of the inventory is in keeping with ARC’s commitment to support initiatives aimed at improving the effectiveness of the integration of IT into teaching based on research findings. To answer the question: “What does research tell us about the conditions necessary for effective integration of IT into teaching?,” information on the current state of knowledge in this field must first be gathered and disseminated. And it was for the purpose of answering this question that ARC conducted a metasynthesis of the results of research conducted from 1985 to 2003. The new inventory is an invitation to resume the exercise in the light of more recent experiments. With this in mind: are the rules established by the first metasynthesis for successful integration of IT into teaching still valid? To explore this question thoroughly, ARC added a new member to its team, Sean Gayadeen, who is mandated to help bring this new update to fruition.

In other words, the
Inventaire des recherches (1985-2012) concernant l’intégration des technologies de l’information et de la communication à l’enseignement collégial
not only helps disseminate college research, it improves upon the metasynthesis exercise that was already initiated several years ago. ARC, aware that that this is one of several ways in which the document can be used, is very interested in any suggestions you may have in this regard.

How can you integrate the inventory into your practices? When you go through the document, will you spot any errors or omissions you could report to us? And lastly, now that you know that a new phase in the metasynthesis of research findings is under way, what questions would you like to be answered regarding the effectiveness of IT in college-level teaching?

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