Educational technologies in university education are widely promoted for their potential to enrich, enhance and extend student learning experiences (Hedberg, 2006). In the last decade, Learning Management Systems (LMS) have become a standard educational technology solution at most universities. While LMS have been purchased with enthusiasm, they have not always been integrated into university teacher practices with the same enthusiasm, and little work has been completed to assess differential effects across individual teachers, contexts and disciplines. If universities hope to encourage uptake of LMS and other technologies, studies are required to examine how teachers reconcile and translate their beliefs in these environments. Research into university teacher beliefs has suggested that belief systems infiltrate teacher thinking, planning, decision-making, behaviour and their application of educational technologies (Bain, McNaught, Lueckenhausen, & Mills, 1998; Reeves & Reeves, 1997).
This study explores these ideas through examining the interrelationship between university teacher’s pedagogical beliefs, beliefs about web technologies and their web practices. Rich qualitative data was collected from six case study participants who were using an LMS in their practice. The data collection procedure required participants to create blended (open and closed) concept maps to represent the two belief systems under investigation. These maps served as scaffolding for interviews on their belief systems as well as providing an alternative and visual representation of their knowledge structures and the relational propositions between their belief concepts. A retrospective stimulated recall task was used to explore participant’s course websites. Analysing this qualitative data individually and across cases revealed important insights into the interrelationships under investigation. Affordance theories particularly, offered an accommodating view of how teachers make decisions about their web practices with reference to their beliefs and their whole teaching and disciplinary context. The findings have strong implications for academic development and teacher education related to technology integration. The findings clearly show that there is no ‘one size fits all’ teacher development approach that will enable our teachers to successfully express their individual pedagogies in web environments. There are many complex factors at play that are interactive and recursive.