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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Haifa Library]On: 22 October 2013, At: 09:20Publisher: Taylor & FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

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    Cloud computing adoption and usage in communitycollegesTara S. Behrend a , Eric N. Wiebe b , Jennifer E. London b & Emily C. Johnson ca Department of Organizational Sciences & Communication , The George WashingtonUniversity , Washington, DC, 20052, USAb Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, North Carolina State University , Raleigh,North Carolina, USAc Federal Management Partners, Inc. , Alexandria, Virginia, USAPublished online: 15 Jul 2010.

    To cite this article: Tara S. Behrend , Eric N. Wiebe , Jennifer E. London & Emily C. Johnson (2011) Cloudcomputing adoption and usage in community colleges, Behaviour & Information Technology, 30:2, 231-240, DOI:10.1080/0144929X.2010.489118

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  • Cloud computing adoption and usage in community colleges

    Tara S. Behrenda*, Eric N. Wiebeb, Jennifer E. Londonb and Emily C. Johnsonc

    aDepartment of Organizational Sciences & Communication, The George Washington University, Washington DC 20052, USA;bFriday Institute for Educational Innovation, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; cFederal

    Management Partners, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, USA

    (Received 15 September 2009; nal version received 21 April 2010)

    Cloud computing is gaining popularity in higher education settings, but the costs and benets of this tool have gonelargely unexplored. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that lead to technology adoption in ahigher education setting. Specically, we examined a range of predictors and outcomes relating to the acceptance ofa cloud computing platform in rural and urban community colleges. Drawing from the Technology AcceptanceModel 3 (TAM3) (Venkatesh, V. and Bala, H., 2008. Technology Acceptance Model 3 and a research agenda oninterventions. Decision Sciences, 39 (2), 273315), we build on the literature by examining both the actual usage andfuture intentions; further, we test the direct and indirect eects of a range of predictors on these outcomes.Approximately 750 community college students enrolled in basic computing skills courses participated in this study;ndings demonstrated that background characteristics such as the students ability to travel to campus hadinuenced the usefulness perceptions, while ease of use was largely determined by rst-hand experiences with theplatform, and instructor support. We oer recommendations for community college administrators and others whoseek to incorporate cloud computing in higher education settings.

    Keywords: cloud computing; Technology Acceptance Model; higher education; community college; educationaltechnology

    1. Introduction

    Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular asa way to deliver technology to secondary and post-secondary education environments and other organi-sations. Industry leaders estimate that revenues fromcloud computing enterprises will reach $160 billion,and dene cloud computing as an emerging ITdevelopment, deployment and delivery model, en-abling real-time delivery of products, services andsolutions over the Internet (Fowler and Worthen2009). With its emphasis on the delivery of low-cost orfree applications anywhere on the Internet, cloudcomputing is a promising prospect for educationalinstitutions faced with budget restrictions and mobilestudent population. Commercial providers are eager toencourage educational adoption of cloud computing;for example, Google has created a special educationedition of their cloud-based Google Apps and touts ontheir website the number of educational institutionsthat have adopted this suite (Google 2009). Successfulimplementation of cloud computing in educationalsettings, however, requires careful attention to anumber of factors from both the student and schoolsperspective. This study examines the implementation

    of a cloud computing initiative in a community collegesetting with the goal of identifying the factors that leadto successful implementation.

    1.1. Cloud computing

    The term cloud computing describes the softwareapplications or other resources that exist online andare available to multiple users via the Internet, ratherthan being installed on a particular users localcomputer. Users can access these applications fromany computer with a high speed Internet connectionwhile having no other connection to the hardware thatholds the source software (Gruman 2008). Becausecomputation takes place on a remote server, the usershardware requirements are much lower than theywould be otherwise, reducing both cost and main-tenance requirements (Erenben 2009). For this reason,cloud computing holds appeal for school adminis-trators who seek to reduce information technology(IT) budgets (Behrend et al. 2008a). For many schoolsystems, cloud computing allows students to accesssoftware that was previously unavailable either due tocost or due to capability limitations in the local

    *Corresponding author. Email: behrend@gwu.edu

    Behaviour & Information Technology

    Vol. 30, No. 2, MarchApril 2011, 231240

    ISSN 0144-929X print/ISSN 1362-3001 online

    2011 Taylor & FrancisDOI: 10.1080/0144929X.2010.489118

    http://www.informaworld.com

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  • computer hardware (Jerald and Orlofsky 1999). Alter-nately, applications can be oered through cloudsolutions because they are easier to maintain ascentralised services. Some well-known providers ofsuch applications are email service providers such asGmail or Yahoo. Similarly, Google provides GoogleDocs (2007), a popular, free program that allows a userto upload a document and specify other users who canhave access to it.

    Cloud computing can be highly benecial ineducational settings. Among the possible benets isthe enhanced usefulness of the existing technology.Because processing is done outside a users computer,older computers can remain useful for longer periodsof time. In addition, installing software or repairingerrors can be done centrally at the server level by theschool IT sta, as opposed to that at the individualcomputer level, which can result in less time expendedon these tasks (Chen 2004, Erenben 2009).

    Community colleges have begun to oer moredistance learning courses in the hopes that with agreater exibility to complete their coursework, morestudents will be able to enrol. In this scenario, cloudcomputing oers a way to ensure that students are ableto access and run the required course software,regardless of their location or local computer proces-sing power. Without cloud computing, the potential ofdistance learning is often not realised for technology-intensive courses, as students would need to travel tocampus to access the software they need in schoollaboratories.

    Rural students may have the most to gain fromcloud computing initiatives. Students who attend ruralschools are typically dispersed and have to commutelonger distances to get to campus. Cloud computingcan meet these students needs by providing a commoninterface to a class or a school and by providing richcontent that allows the students to engage in learningregardless of location. The prospect of completingtechnology assignments from home instead of stayingafter school to use laboratory computers may mean thedierence between staying enrolled and dropping out,as high transportation costs can become unmanageablefor many low-resource students (Sander 2008).

    Along with the substantial benets of cloudcomputing, though, come potential pitfalls that canimpede usefulness and cause substantial frustration.One concern is the prospect of uncontrollable down-time, which will vary by provider, and can occur asserver maintenance is performed or as unforeseenoutages occur (Stone 2008). Because software isaccessed remotely, there may be a perceived or actuallack of control over when it will be available for use.Another concern is the lack of training and support forkey stakeholders, such as instructors, administrators or

    IT professionals. Unless instructors both understandand endorse cloud computing as a means of softwaredelivery, students will probably not understand thebenets from the system (Behrend et al. 2008b).

    1.2. Cloud computing in community collegeeducation

    Many community college students attend courses whilebalancing other roles and obligations, such as a full-time job or a family, making them more likely thantraditional college students to drop out before com-pleting degree requirements (Conklin 1997, Medvedand Heisler 2002). Finances can also be a factor indecisions to pursue higher education, for instancewhen gas prices make long commutes to campusprohibitive (Sander 2008) or when courses requireexpensive software. Perhaps in part due to these issues,college students tend to appreciate learning tools thatallow them greater exibility to do their work whenand where they want (Beyth-Marom et al. 2003, Selim2007).

    Given that rural community colleges are relativelyunderfunded and tend to serve a dispersed studentbody where long commutes require even largerinvestments of time (Yudko et al. 2006), cloudcomputing could be a technological innovation thatboth reduces IT costs for the college and eliminatesmany of the time-related constraints for students,making learning tools accessible for a larger number ofstudents. It is clear that careful, strategic integration ofcloud computing applications into courses is necessaryif students are to accept and use them; research on thistopic, however, does not yet exist to guide colleges.Thus, it is important to understand the factors thatlead students to embrace this technology, from both aninstructional and administrative/planning perspective(Venkatesh and Bala 2008). The purpose of the currentstudy is to address this goal by examining studentcharacteristics and experiences that lead to successfuladoption of a cloud computing platform in a commu-nity college setting. The following sections outline thetheoretical frameworks we draw from to form ourpredictions.

    1.3. Theoretical background

    Successful implementation and adoption of ITs such ascloud computing depend on technical factors of IT,characteristics of the organisation that introduces thetechnology and the response of individuals within theorganisation to the new technological tools. Central tothis research has been the inuential TechnologyAcceptance Model (TAM) (Davis 1989, Davis 1993,Venkatesh and Davis 2000, Venkatesh et al. 2003,

    232 T.S. Behrend et al.

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  • Venkatesh and Bala 2008). Though the TAM wasinitially developed to predict individual adoption anduse of new technologies in a business setting, theframework has also been used in educational settings.We draw from the TAM in developing hypothesesabout the factors that lead community college studentsto adopt cloud computing resources oered by theircollege. The initial and subsequent TAM renementshave garnered extensive empirical support (e.g. Al-Gahtani and King 1999, Venkatesh et al. 2003, Kingand He 2006, Karahanna et al. 2006, Schepers andWetzels 2007, Venkatesh et al. 2007) and provide arobust framework that is well aligned with the cloudcomputing IT acceptance context being studied.

    The most recent TAM, i.e. TAM3 (Figure 1), canbe best understood by exploring the determinants toperceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. TheTAM posits that individuals behavioural intention touse IT is determined by two beliefs: perceivedusefulness and perceived ease of use (Venkatesh andBala 2008). Perceived usefulness is dened as the extentto which a person believes that using an IT willenhance their job performance, while perceived ease ofuse is dened as the degree to which a person believesthat using an IT will be free of eort. These two beliefsare driven by a number of other external factors (e.g.specic characteristics of the IT system, organisationor the individual user).

    Individual dierences are important determinantsof the construct of ease of use. Among the identiedfactors are computer self-ecacy, computer anxietyand computer playfulness. Computer self-ecacy is thedegree to which an individual believes that they havethe ability to perform a specic task or job using acomputer or a related technology (Compeau andHiggins 1995). Computer anxiety, on the other hand,is the degree of an individuals apprehension, or evenfear, when she/he is faced with the possibility of usingcomputers (Venkatesh 2000, p. 349). Finally, computerplayfulness is . . . the degree of cognitive spontaneity inmicrocomputer interactions . . .[where] those higher in

    microcomputer playfulness tend to be more sponta-neous, inventive, and imaginative in their microcom-puter interactions (Webster and Martocchio 1992, p.204).

    Perception of external control, a facilitating condi-tion, is also a determinant of perceived ease of use.Perception of external control is dened as the degreeto which an individual believes that there areorganisational and technical resources available tosupport his/her use of IT system (Venkatesh et al.2003). Finally, there are two system characteristics thatare the determinants of perceived ease of use: perceivedenjoyment is the extent to which the system is perceivedto be enjoyable in its own right, regardless as towhether its use impacts job performance; objectiveusability is a comparison of systems (e.g. the currentlyused system versus the new system) on the actual levelof eort required to use the computer for a specictask (Venkatesh 2000).

    Determinants of perceived usefulness are groupedunder social inuence and system characteristics, andrelate to the degree to which a user believes that the ITsystem will further their workplace goals. An impor-tant social inuence, subjective norm, is the degree towhich a user perceives that other individuals of highstatus (or otherwise inuential) believe that theyshould use the new IT (Fishbein and Ajzen 1975,Venkatesh et al. 2003). Related to this is the constructof image: the degree to which an individual perceivesthat the use of the IT will enhance his/her organisa-tional status (Moore and Benbasat 1991). This view ofcompliance is further supported by the technologyacceptance research, which demonstrates that thesesocial inuence factors have the highest impact whenIT system use is considered mandatory (Sun andZhang 2006, Schepers and Wetzels 2007).

    Three system characteristics are considered as thedeterminants of perceived usefulness: job relevance isthe degree to which the user believes the IT system isapplicable to his/her job duties. It follows that thedeterminant of output quality relates to the users belief

    Figure 1. Technology Acceptance Model 3 (Venkatesh and Bala 2008).

    Behaviour & Information Technology 233

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  • that the IT system performs its tasks well. A relateddeterminant is that of result demonstrability, which isdened as the degree to which an individual believesthe results of using the IT system are tangible,observable and communicable (Moore and Benbasat1991). All of these factors are related to performanceexpectancy, the degree to which a user believes the ITsystem will help with his/her job performance.

    Under the current TAM3, perceived usefulness isalso inuenced by perceived ease of use, though this ismoderated by experience. That is, more experiencesolidies ones perception of ease of use and increasesits eect on perceived usefulness (Venkatesh and Bala2008). Together, perceived ease of use and usefulnessare then used to formulate a behavioural intention touse the system that, in turn, drives the actual use of thesystem. The expectation is that behavioural intentionwill have a signicant positive inuence on technologyusage (Venkatesh et al. 2003). It is also important tonote that another key goal of TAM3 is to operatio-nalise the model into actionable strategies to enhancethe use of IT system. Organisational interventions suchas training and user support are important compo-nents of this model.

    Much of the research on and validation of the TAMmodels have been done using mainstream businessorganisations and IT systems. For example, Holdenand Karsh (2009) used TAM2 to help develop atestable, theoretical multilevel model of health IT usagebehaviour. With more and more computing resourcesbeing located on the Internet (i.e. cloud computing), itis appropriate that a greater proportion of recentstudies involving the TAM models has used Internet orintranet-based (i.e. network-based but within a singleorganisation) IT. Lee and Kim (2009), using the TAM/UTAUT model (Venkatesh et al. 2003), examinedbusiness users of a company intranet, nding taskcharacteristics, technical support and perceived ease ofuse all to be signicant factors inuencing usage.

    In an educational context, Yuen and Ma (2008)and Teo et al. (2008) used TAM models to explore pre-service and in-service teachers acceptance of instruc-tional technologies such as e-Learning systems. Ger-mane to the research reported here is whether theTAM3 model can be applied as a model of useracceptance and usage for cloud computing technolo-gies in the community college system. For example,while teacher usage may be considered as essentially aprofessional work application of the IT, would studentuse of IT for learning create a dierent user context?Also, would the use of IT in a community collegesetting be a dierent context from a more mainstreambusiness setting?

    To summarise the TAM theoretical framework forthe current study, a great deal of research has been

    conducted on the relationship between two importantmediators, usefulness and ease of use, in predicting theindividual intentions to use technological innovations.Less is known, however, about the factors that lead tousefulness and ease of use, especially with regard to acommunity college student population using a cloudcomputing technology. Further, a variety of outcomemeasures can and should be considered in thispopulation, beyond simple usage intentions. Thus, weinvestigate a variety of factors that are expected toinuence ease of use and usefulness perceptions forcommunity college students. We group these predic-tors according to student attitudes, situational factorsand student experiences with the technology.

    1.4. Hypotheses

    Hypothesis 1: Usefulness perceptions (1a) andease-of-use perceptions (1b) will aect the studentusage of the cloud computing tool.

    Hypothesis 2: Usefulness perceptions (2a) andease-of-use perceptions (2b) will aect studentbeliefs about future utility of the cloud computingtool.

    Hypothesis 3: Usefulness perceptions (3a) andease-of-use perceptions (3b) will aect studentintentions for future use of cloud computing tools.

    Hypothesis 4: Student attitudes about technologywill aect usefulness (4a) and ease of use (4b).

    Hypothesis 5: Situational factors will aect useful-ness (5a) and ease of use (5b).

    Hypothesis 6: Student experiences with the cloudcomputing tool will aect usefulness (6a) and easeof use (6b).

    2. Method

    2.1. Study context

    The cloud computing platform used in this study wasthe Virtual Computing Lab (VCL 2007), which wasdeveloped by a team of IT professionals for thepurpose of better deploying software for universitystudent and faculty use. The VCL provides authorisedusers with a virtual desktop through which they canaccess software licensed by the educational institution.Users can access this software from any computer ordevice with a high-speed Internet connection. The VCLdiers from web-based e-Learning tools such as coursemanagement software (e.g. Moodle, Blackboard) orapplets that run within a web browser. Instead, the

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  • VCL provides a remote connection window into acomplete computer desktop running on a remoteserver. This creates, in essence, a computer within astudents local computer on which a student can runcomputer applications supported by the VCLs remoteservers, but not available on the students localcomputer (e.g. expensive, dicult to obtain or mem-ory-intensive applications). These remote connectionsare managed by a web-based reservation system, wherestudents check on the availability and status of remotedesktop servers and make reservations. Measurementof the VCLs perceived ease of use and usefulnessconcerns the functioning of the remote connection, theweb-based reservation system and the management ofmultiple drives on a students computer (e.g. both thestudents hard drive and the virtual hard drive).

    Because the services provided by the VCL wereexpected to full a need in the community collegesystem, a partnership was established with the statecommunity college system to pilot the system at selectcommunity college campuses. The community collegesparticipating in the pilot were responsible for introdu-cing the VCL into the classroom and providing basictechnical support. The current pilot study was con-ducted with students enrolled in an introductorycomputing course required for most majors, coveringbasic topics such as le management and wordprocessing. The VCL provided a virtual desktop withthe specic version of the Windows OS and MicrosoftOce software suite used in the course. Use of theVCL was required for students in participating sectionsof the course.

    2.2. Design and procedure

    Data were collected at four time points over the courseof two semesters in 2008 (i.e. at the beginning and endof each of the two semesters). Instructors were asked todirect their students to an online questionnaire, whichwas designed to assess the various study variables. Itconsisted of 112 questions (see Section 2.4) and tookapproximately 20 min to complete.

    Additionally, qualitative information was obtainedthrough focus groups with the instructors and inter-views with other stakeholders (e.g. college adminis-trators and IT support sta) as part of the larger pilotproject associated with this study. However, these datawere used solely to inform our interpretation of theresults of study analyses.

    2.3. Participants

    Participants in this study were students at twocommunity colleges in the Southeastern USA, onerural (N 142) and one urban (N 618). Fifty-two

    per cent of the participants were females. Withrespect to age, 53% were 25 years old or younger,27% were 2635, 11% were 3645, 5% were 4655 and1%were over 55 years of age. Most of the students weretraditional full-time degree seekers (63%) or part-timedegree seekers (20%), but part-time non-degree seekers(3%) and other types (5%) were also represented.Students took the class in an online format (19%), atraditional seated format (79%) or in a hybrid format(2%) format that combined aspects of the two.

    2.4. Measures

    Access to personal copies of software (a 0.80) wasmeasured with two items, e.g. I have a personal copyof the software I need for this course. Responses wereon a 5-point Likert scale with anchors strongly disagreeto strongly agree, with higher values representing moreaccess to personal copies of software.

    Ease of travel (a 0.47) to campus was measuredwith two items, e.g. Restraints on my transportationarrangements make it dicult to commute to campus.These items were 5-point Likert scales anchoredstrongly disagree to strongly agree with agreementindicating more diculty getting to campus.

    Personal innovativeness in the domain of informationtechnology (a 0.87) was measured with three itemscreated by Agarwal and Prasad (1998) and includeitems such as If I heard about a new informationtechnology, I would look for ways to experiment withit. Responses were given on a 5-point Likert scaleanchored strongly disagree to strongly agree, withhigher values representing higher levels of personalinnovativeness.

    Anxiety towards technology (a 0.81) was mea-sured with a three-item scale from Venkatesh et al.(2003), e.g. Computer technology often interferes withmy learning. The items were on a 5-point Likert scaleanchored strongly disagree to strongly agree, withhigher levels representing more anxiety towardstechnology.

    Instructor support (a 0.85) was measured by ave-item scale based on Venkatesh et al. (2003) thatincluded items such as I am encouraged by myinstructor to use the Virtual Computing Lab. Theitems were 5-point Likert scales anchored stronglydisagree to strongly agree, with higher levels represent-ing more instructor support.

    Reliability (a 0.76) was measured with two items,e.g. The Virtual Computing Lab is reliable. Re-sponses were on a 9-point scale with anchors never toalways, with higher values representing greaterreliability.

    Perceived usefulness (a 0.78) was measured withtwo items from Venkatesh et al. (2003), e.g. The

    Behaviour & Information Technology 235

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  • Virtual Computing Lab has made it easier for me tocomplete assignments. Responses were on a 5-pointLikert scale anchored strongly disagree to stronglyagree, with higher values representing higher perceivedusefulness.

    Ease of use (a 0.93) was measured with fouritems from Venkatesh et al. (2003), e.g. I thought theVirtual Computing Lab was easy to use. Responseswere given on a 5-point Likert scale anchored stronglydisagree to strongly agree, with higher values repre-senting greater ease of use.

    Actual use was measured with one item thatcombined the time spent on six activities, e.g. Howmany minutes per week did you spend using theVirtual Computing Lab at school? Responses wereopen-ended.

    Intentions for future use (a 0.81) was measuredwith items, e.g. I think that I would like to use theVirtual Computing Lab frequently. Responses wereon a 5-point Likert scale anchored strongly disagree tostrongly agree, with higher values representing higherintention to use the VCL in the future.

    Future usefulness perceptions (a 0.92) were mea-sured with three items, e.g. I think I will nd theVirtual Computing Lab useful in my courses. Re-sponses were on a 5-point Likert scale anchoredstrongly disagree to strongly agree, with higher valuesrepresenting higher likelihood of future use.

    2.5. Analyses

    In order to assess the inuence of the various studyvariables on the likelihood of adopting cloud comput-ing technology (i.e. the VCL), a path-analytic modelwas developed and tested. Path analysis (cf. Cohenet al. 2003) allows researchers to test the directand indirect eects of multiple continuous indepen-dent variables on multiple continuous dependentvariables, as illustrated in Figure 2. In this way, wewere able to test (and thus control) all study variablessimultaneously.

    3. Results

    Inter-correlations and descriptive statistics for allmeasures are presented in Table 1. To test ourhypotheses, a path-analytic model was tested usingthe MPLUS software program (see Figure 2 for apresentation of all standardised path coecients). Onthe predictor side, the model included the followingvariables: alternative access to software, ease of travelto campus, personal technology innovativeness, tech-nology anxiety and instructor support and reliability.Three dependent variables (actual use, future useful-ness perceptions and intentions to use in the future) aswell as two mediating variables (usefulness and ease ofuse) were included.

    Figure 2. Path-analytic model results. Note: Only signicant (p 5 0.05) standardised path coecients are displayed. Non-signicant paths appear as grey, dashed arrows.

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  • 3.1. Model t

    Fit indices were calculated to determine the suitabilityof the model. The standardised solution for the modelis shown in Table 2.

    3.2. Student usage of cloud computing

    Hypothesis 1 predicted that usefulness (1a) and ease ofuse (1b) aect the student usage of the VirtualComputing Lab. While usefulness showed no signi-cant relationship with student usage, ease of use wasfound to be signicantly related to it (see Figure 1 forpath weights). Thus, Hypothesis 1a was not supported,and Hypothesis 1b was supported.

    3.3. Student beliefs about future utility

    Hypothesis 2 predicted that usefulness perceptions andease-of-use perceptions would aect student beliefsabout future utility. The path-analytic results indicatedfull support for this hypothesis, with signicantpositive relationships from both usefulness and ease-of-use perceptions to beliefs about the future utility.

    3.4. Intentions for future use

    Hypothesis 3, which predicted that usefulness percep-tions and ease-of-use perceptions would aect inten-tions for future cloud computing use, was also fullysupported. Both usefulness and ease of use were foundto positively inuence the students intentions forfuture cloud computing use.

    3.5. Student attitudes about technology

    Hypothesis 4 investigated the relationship betweenstudents attitudes towards technology and usefulness(4a) and ease of use (4b). We found that anxiety aboutthe technology had a signicant, negative eect onperceived usefulness (i.e. students who were moreanxious about the technology perceived cloud

    Table1.

    Item

    descriptives

    andintercorrelations.

    MSD

    12

    34

    56

    78

    910

    11

    12

    1.Homeaccessto

    software

    3.81

    1.19

    2.Ease

    oftravelto

    campus

    70.01

    0.8270.01

    3.Personalinnovativeness

    3.36

    0.87

    0.09

    0.00

    4.Technologyanxiety

    2.42

    0.9970.12

    0.17**70.11**

    5.Instructorsupport

    70.01

    0.80

    0.05

    70.03

    0.19**70.12*

    6.Reliabilityperceptions

    4.84

    1.2670.05

    70.35**

    0.12

    70.18*

    0.31**

    7.Usefulness

    3.78

    1.2070.13

    70.22*

    0.04

    70.26**

    0.04

    0.24**

    8.Ease

    ofuse

    3.63

    1.0170.05

    70.22*

    0.28**70.08

    0.54**0.54**

    0.20**

    9.Actualweekly

    use

    (minutes)

    100.99163.2670.28**70.10

    0.18*70.10

    0.16*

    0.33**

    0.20**

    0.32**

    10.Intentionsforfuture

    use

    70.01

    0.8970.11

    70.08

    0.25**70.13**

    0.43**0.47**

    0.31**

    0.54**

    0.30**

    11.Future

    usefulnessperceptions

    3.37

    1.1270.14

    70.17

    0.24**

    0.04

    0.39**0.40**

    0.20**

    0.62**

    0.17*

    0.48**

    12.Agegroup

    70.15*70.04

    70.18*70.01

    70.08

    0.04

    70.06

    70.06

    0.10

    0.05

    0.06

    13.Gender

    70.05

    70.07

    0.26**70.05

    70.05

    0.02

    0.01

    0.07

    0.18*70.01

    70.020.10

    *p5

    0.05

    **p5

    0.01.

    Note:Nvaries

    from

    cellto

    cellduedopairwisedeletionofmissingdata.

    Table 2. Model t.

    w2/df ratio CFI TLI RMSEA SRMR

    Model 2.96 0.934 0.827 0.087 0.036

    Note: Interpretation of Indices is as follows: w2/df ratio: a valuelarger than 2 indicates an inadequate t; Comparative Fit Index(CFI) and Tucker Lewis Index (TLI): a value between 0.90 and 0.95indicates acceptable t and a value above 0.95 indicates good t;Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA): 0.05 or lessindicates good t, greater than 0.10 indicates poor t; StandardisedRoot Mean Square Residual (SRMR): a value less than 0.08indicates good t.

    Behaviour & Information Technology 237

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  • computing to be less useful), but anxiety did not have asignicant eect on the ease of use. Personal innova-tiveness did not have signicant eects on ease-of-useor usefulness perceptions. Thus, Hypothesis 4a waspartially supported, and Hypothesis 4b was notsupported.

    3.6. Situational factors

    To test Hypothesis 5, we examined the relationshipsbetween usefulness (5a) and ease of use (5b) with twosituational factors, software access and ease of travelto campus. We found that both of these factors hadsignicant, negative eects on the usefulness and easeof use. Further, alternative access to the software had adirect and negative eect on the actual use of the VCL,and ease of travel to campus had a direct and negativeeect on the future usefulness perceptions. Thus,Hypotheses 5a and 5b were fully supported.

    3.7. Student experiences

    To test Hypothesis 6, we examined the relationshipsbetween two situational factors, instructor support andreliability and usefulness (6a) and ease of use (6b). Wefound that while reliability was signicantly, positivelyrelated to both ease of use and usefulness, instructorsupport was only signicantly related to ease of use.This lends partial support to Hypotheses 6a and 6b.

    4. Discussion

    4.1. Summary of results

    In this study, we examined factors that led communitycollege students to adopt cloud computing technology.We found that overall, students use of cloud com-puting was a function of ease-of-use perceptions, aswell as the students access to alternative tools.Usefulness was not a factor in predicting actual usage;however, usefulness did predict the students intentionto use cloud computing technologies like VCL in thefuture. Beliefs about future usefulness, like actualusage, were predicted by ease of use and access toalternative tools.

    Given that both usefulness and ease of use wereimportant in understanding the usage patterns, weexamined the factors that led to usefulness and ease-of-use perceptions. Usefulness was a function of situa-tional factors, attitudes and experience factors; tech-nology reliability was the strongest predictor. Ease ofuse was also predicted by a number of factors, thestrongest being instructor support.

    As a whole, the ndings from this study providenew insight into the factors that leads to the adoptionof cloud computing technology. One important nding

    is the discrepancy between the actual usage during agiven semester and the intention to use the tools atsome point in the future. It appears that students inthis setting form impressions about the technologybased on their immediate needs, rather than theanticipated future needs. This may be a function, inpart, of the relatively higher number of non-degreestudents, and students who enrolled for part-timecourses, whose primary focus is on their currentcourses. This points to an important distinctionbetween the community college context and businesscontexts where the TAMs have been more typicallyvalidated at least a portion of the community collegepopulation should be seen as much more transient,with a dierent relationship to the IT being providedby the institution.

    We found that the ease-of-use perception was amuch stronger predictor of adoption than the useful-ness perception. This indicates that students mayacknowledge the utility of a tool, but lack themotivation to use it if it is not user friendly. Giventhat these students often balance multiple roles, andlack advanced technology skills, they may not wish toinvest the time needed to learn a new tool even if it is auseful one. With regard to cloud computing speci-cally, it appears that the students can acknowledge theecacy of tool in enabling them to complete their workwith greater exibility and speed, but still choose notto use it if it requires eort to learn to use. This ndingis counter to previous research with 4-year universitystudents, which had typically shown a stronger eectof usefulness compared to ease of use (e.g. Lee et al.2005, Martinez-Torres et al. 2008). These authorsasserted that college students have above-averageexposure to IT, increasing their willingness to trynew tools. The current study indicates that perhapscommunity college students are dierent from 4-yearuniversity students and their needs and relationship toIT should be planned for accordingly.

    This study makes a number of unique contribu-tions. This is the rst study to empirically test thedeterminants of cloud computing technology usage ina higher education setting. We examined distalpredictors as well as the mediating inuences ofusefulness and ease of use, as they are related to anumber of outcomes. We examined factors at thestudent, instructor and school levels in order to gain afuller picture of why students used cloud computing, toenable the administrators and curriculum specialists tobetter plan for technology courses. Finally, weexamined these factors in a community college setting.Community colleges are poised to ll an essential rolein quickly and eciently providing job training formany technical professions. Understanding the ways inwhich these students are related to and use the

    238 T.S. Behrend et al.

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  • technology, then, is an important goal for botheducational planners and researchers.

    4.2. Limitations and future research

    This study has a number of limitations that should benoted. First, we were not able to include a number offactors that have been shown to inuence technologyacceptance. For example, technology use varies de-pending on whether use is mandatory or optional(Venkatesh et al. 2003). Predictors of use also varyover time as users gain more familiarity and experience(Venkatesh et al. 2003). However, this study yieldsimportant information about usage within a manda-tory use, initial experience context. Future researchwill be needed to examine longitudinal changes inpatterns and predictors of use.

    Second, this study focused on a single level ofanalysis, namely student behaviour. Successful imple-mentation of cloud computing technology in commu-nity colleges also depends on teacher beliefs andbehaviours, as well as those of the administrationand IT sta. Our interviews with teachers showed cleardierences in the acceptance and understanding ofcloud computing; it will be of interest to determinehow these dierences translate into student usagepatterns.

    4.3. Practical implications

    College IT planners must be informed about thepossible risks and benets of cloud computingtechnologies before engaging in wide-scale implemen-tation. The results of this study showed that studentswho had diculty in travelling to the campus weremore likely to nd cloud computing useful; ruralcolleges can expect to have a higher proportion ofstudents travelling a long distance and, by extension,more students who may be interested in using cloudcomputing. It is clear, however, that students will notuse these tools unless they have a positive in-classintroduction, with an instructor who is able to explainthe benets and demonstrate its use. Thus, college-levelcost analysis has to go hand-in-hand with organisa-tional t of the tool. That is, cost-eectiveness andactual utilisation of the tool have to be likely takeninto account when judging the success of a project.Instructor buy-in is critical; the pay for the instructorand IT support training costs should be included incost projections.

    4.4. Conclusions

    Community colleges educate a rapidly growing num-ber of students (Moltz 2008), often with underfunded

    IT resources. IT administrators are always seekingways to deliver IT while keeping budgets manage-able, with cloud computing promising to be aneective tool towards this goal. Careful planning,however, is needed to ensure that cloud computinginvestments do not go to waste. Unless students feelthat they are supported in the use of cloudcomputing, and that this tool is an easy and reliablealternative, they will not use it and hence the collegewill not be beneted.

    Acknowledgements

    The authors thank the VCL Project Team at North CarolinaState University for providing the cloud computing resourcesand helping to facilitate the data collection. In particular, theauthors thank Sarah Stein, Sam Averitt, Henry Schaer,Aaron Peeler and Josh Thompson. This work was supportedin part by funding from the State of North Carolina throughthe NC Community College System and from an IBMFaculty Award to the second author.

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