Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 38–59 | Cite as

Obstacles and supports related to the use of educational technologies: the role of technological expertise, gender, and age

  • Cara A. LaneEmail author
  • Henry F. LyleIII


In order for institutions of higher education to provide essential technology resources and encourage the adoption of educational technologies, it is vital to gather information about the barriers their users encounter and the supports they find most helpful. The purpose of this study is to better understand how differences in user traits (e.g., age, gender, and technological expertise) may be impacting the use of technologies to support instruction. In this study, we report data from a university-wide survey of faculty at the University of Washington (N = 547). Study results indicate that individuals with technical expertise at the “beginner” level rely on different sources of support and encounter different barriers than do individuals at the “expert” level, even after controlling for gender and age. Our data demonstrate the importance of recognizing the range of expertise that exist among users when assessing barriers and implementing programs to support faculty in the adoption of educational technologies.


Educational technology adoption User traits Obstacles to technology use Supports for technology use Technological expertise 



We would like to give special thanks to Siobhán Mattison for her editorial suggestions and help with the presentation and discussion of data. We would also like to acknowledge the members of the survey steering committee and working group at the UW for their contributions to this project. We also want to recognize our colleagues in UW Information Technology for their leadership and support. In particular, we want to thank Karalee Woody for her leadership, Greg Koester for his work as project manager, Janice Fournier for her assistance developing survey questions, and Nicole Wedvik for her help creating the tables used in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UW Information TechnologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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