A case study on the elective information technologies course policy in lower secondary schools


Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences, Turkey

Approval Date: 2017

Student: SATI BURHANLI

Supervisor: HANİFE AKAR

Abstract:

In this case study, the implementation of course policy in public lower secondary schools was investigated through the elective course Information Technologies and Software (ITS). The decision making and implementation processes were examined by means of observations, interviews and questionnaires. The policy implementation was examined as a single embedded case study in 18 lower secondary schools in Çankaya district of Ankara. The participants were the administrators (N=18), the teachers who teach the elective ITS course in two of the schools (N=4), and the students who take this course as an elective course (N=171). The data were collected through five different data collection instruments that were developed by the researcher. The first instrument was the school administrator questionnaire that was distributed to 18 schools and was used mainly for gathering contextual information about the number of students that prefer ITS course as an elective, whether ITS course is offered or not, the number of computer science teachers and opinions of school administrators about the elective ITS course. According to contextual information obtained through the school administrator questionnaire, three schools were defined for the case study regarding students who took the elective ITS course, teachers who taught the course, and the number of computer laboratories. In two of the schools, ITS course was taught as elective course while in one of them it was not. In these two schools, elective course decision making processes were investigated through teacher interviews and student questionnaires that included mainly open-ended items. In addition, the implementation of ITS elective course was examined through participant observations, teacher interviews, and student questionnaires. In the third school, the elective course decision making process and the reasons behind not offering ITS as elective course were investigated by the means of a detailed school administrator semi-structured interview. The results of the study show that elective course decision making process was carried out as it is planned in the official policy. On the other hand, the insufficient number of teachers who can teach elective courses, and lack of a computer laboratory in schools prevent offering elective ITS courses. Furthermore, due to limited capacity in the computer laboratory, ITS course was not given to some of the students who even prefer to attend ITS course as an elective. In addition, results also show that while there were differences in two schools in terms of course implementation, the problems that were faced in lessons were similar in two schools. As a result, the embedded case study suggests that an effective elective ITS course policy may depend on increasing students’ awareness of elective ITS course, providing necessary materials and course books, and the improvement of computer laboratory facilities.