Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer


This quantitative research study identifies the problem solving strategies preservice teachers use in learning specific technology skills within an educational technology methods class which is offered both online and face to face. It also examines how such strategies differ by the format of this course, and to what extent these strategies and/or course format correlate with the students' expressed level of confidence and competence to integrate technology into their future classroom settings. The study utilizes data extracted from surveys of over 1,500 students who had taken the educational technology methods course via online or face-to-face format during one of nineteen (19) different semesters at Western Michigan University.

Results revealed more than 85% of the students in both the face-to-face and online sections felt, after completing EDT 3470, the technology methods course, believed they are competent to either integrate technology into their teaching or teach technology to others. However, a significant difference was found with more online students feeling they were able to teach others each of the technology skills, while more face-to-face students felt they would integrate those skills into their teaching. Eight-five percent (85%) of both the face-to-face and online students left EDT 3470 with technology confidence. A small difference was found between course formats with face-to-face students slightly more confident than the online students. In reporting overall problem solving skills used while taking the course, students in the face-to-face course either waited for assistance from their instructor or went to a peer for assistance, and online students chose to discover an answer through the trial and error method or through further reading. However, when asked what problem solving skills was used for specific tasks, results reveal the majority students from both formats used the trial and error method. Further investigation revealed the use problem solving skills, especially using the trial and error method, can predict whether a student will feel competent or confident to integrate technology into their curriculum or teach it. Moreover, course format, online or face-to-face can predict whether more students will feel competent or confident after completing the course.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Education Commons