The Alliance program keys on two central research questions regarding education in the context of the SuperNet:
· What is the effect as perceived by students, teachers, parents and administrators of the SuperNet on the quality, diversity and cost effectiveness of education impacted via this technology?
· Who are the effective change agents and what roles do they play in supporting adoption and effective use of this technology?
The theoretical framework is that of adoption of innovation (Rogers, 1995) and will investigate five factors related to speed of adoption: relative advantage, complexity, triability, compatibility and observability.
The study will use a grounded theory method in which samples will be selected for a minimum of 25 in-depth interviews conducted annually. The study will focus on adoption in two rural contexts in Northern Alberta - a distributed school division (High Prairie School Division) and a distributed community college (Northern Lakes College) Interview transcripts will be analyzed using qualitative techniques. A survey will be developed and administered electronically to students, teachers and administrators in the third year of the project to confirm interview findings. Results will inform educators, administrators, policy makers and parents at all levels of formal education who are interested in using network tools to significantly improve education programming.