A survey of the knowledge, use, and adoption of emerging technologies by academics in an Open Distance Learning environment
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The realisation of the advantages offered by e-learning accompanied by the use of various emerging information technologies has resulted in a noticeable shift by academia towards e-learning. An analysis of the use, knowledge and adoption of emerging technologies by academics in an Open Distance Learning (ODL) environment at the University of South Africa (UNISA) was undertaken in this study. The aim of the study was to evaluate the use, knowledge and adoption of emerging e-learning technologies by the academics from the selected schools. The academics in the Schools of Arts, Computing and Science were purposively selected in order to draw on views of academics from different teaching and educational backgrounds. Questionnaires were distributed both electronically and manually. The results showed that academics in all the Schools were competent at the use of information technology tools and applications such as emailing, word-processing, Internet, myUnisa (UNISA’s online teaching platform), and Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel. An evaluation of the awareness of different emerging technological tools showed that most academics were aware of Open Access Technologies, Social Networking Sites, Blogs, Video Games and Microblogging Platforms. While the level of awareness was high for these technologies, the use by the academics was low. At least 62.3% of the academics indicated willingness to migrate to online teaching completely and also indicated the need for further training on new technologies. A comparison of the different schools showed no statistically significant difference in the use, knowledge and willingness to adopt technology amongst the academics.