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An exploration of the applicability and utility of fault tree analysis to the diffusion of technological innovation in educational systems

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An exploration of the applicability and utility of fault tree analysis to the diffusion of technological innovation in educational systems

Aaron, Mandie (2001) An exploration of the applicability and utility of fault tree analysis to the diffusion of technological innovation in educational systems. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

An operations technique used to analyze safety on aerospace projects and a descendant of the systems safety approach developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Fault Tree Analysis [FTA] examines systems in terms of potential failure. The purpose of the technique is to improve the likelihood of successful attainment of a specified goal. In this study, qualitative research methods were used to examine the process of FTA in order to determine its practical value as an applicable and useful tool in the diffusion of technological innovation in educational systems. The innovation in question concerned a large, urban college interested in developing and implementing web-based courses and in increasing faculty awareness and use of teaching technologies. Since diffusion of innovation literature suggests that involvement of the intended users in the diffusion process will increase use, this study relied heavily upon the participation of a team of administrators, faculty and technology experts as well as the 543 faculty members of the College. The FTA team identified 228 potential impediments, or failure events [FEs], to the successful accomplishment of their goal. Surveys were distributed to the 543 faculty members for validation of these failure events. The respondents identified the specific impediments they felt were most likely to occur and negatively impact the attainment of the goal. These FEs fit into the following categories identified in the literature as impediments to the implementation of technology: support; perceived interest; expertise; communication; time; resources; and access. Based on answers to questions pertaining to applicability and utility by the FTA team, members of the focal system, and a study of the information gathered as a participant-observer, recommendations are made as to the applicability and utility of Fault Tree Analysis in the diffusion of innovation in educational settings. Preliminary results indicate that FTA can be an effective information gathering and disseminating tool. Feedback from respondents indicates the process was applicable and useful and provided them with a more systemic view of the college and the challenges they face in attaining the goal. Limitations included time constraints which, in some steps, prevented full team participation and, in others, slowed down the process. The specific context of the findings may also limit their generalizability. Suggestions are therefore offered to address these issues in order to improve the FTA process.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Aaron, Mandie
Pagination:xi, 204 leaves ; 29 cm. + 1 computer optical disc (4 3/4 in.)
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Education
Date:2001
Thesis Supervisor(s):Dicks, Dennis J.
ID Code:1323
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:18
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:19
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