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ERIC Number: EJ823140
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0360-1315
The Impact of ICT on Work-Life Experiences among University Teaching Assistants
Osterlund, Katherine; Robson, Karen
Computers & Education, v52 n2 p432-437 Feb 2009
Email is now commonplace in the university environment, but little research has addressed the impact of this technology on the work-life experiences of Teaching Assistants (TAs). These workers are of interest as they are typically responsible for most day-to-day, routine interaction with undergraduates, for ensuring students understand lectures and other course materials, and for assessing student work. In the summer of 2006, we undertook a web-based survey of Teaching Assistants at a major Canadian university. We wanted to examine the impact of and experience with information and communication technologies (ICTs)--in this case, the ubiquitous email. We found that these academic workers made extensive use of email, and that their experiences and attitudes were mixed. While relatively few expressed a desire to completely eliminate email use in their practice, problems such as feeling "overburdened" by student email were common. Respondents who had set in-person office hours were twice as likely to assert that email increased their workload, that they felt overburdened by student email, and that they preferred not to communicate with students over email. There were also unexpected differences among TAs in the arts/social sciences compared to those in the math/science disciplines. Our data calls into question the largely optimistic orientation common in research reporting at the nexus point of education and ICTs, and suggests that an approach that is both critical and constructive is warranted when thinking about technology and academic work-life. (Contains 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada