Examining School Board Leaders' Use of Online Resources to Inform Decision-Making | Examen de l’usage des ressources en ligne par les dirigeants des conseils scolaires pour guider les prises de décisions


  • Robin Holding Kay University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Loralea Carruthers University of Ontario Institute of Technology




school boards, trustees, knowledge-based decision making, online resources, technology, leadership, decision-making, social media, knowledge mobilization


In the past five years, there has been considerable interest in the decision-making process of school board officials in the field of education.  However, a paucity of research exists on how these leaders use online resources to make decisions.  Through an online survey and face to face interviews, this study examined the use of online resources by school-board trustees (n=164) to guide board-level decisions.  Trustees used online articles (news, research articles, journals) twice as much as social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs) or repository services (clipping services, Google Scholar).  Almost 70% of trustees used three or more resources to inform their decision making.  Seventy-five to 85% of trustees rated online articles and repository services as being useful.   Trustees actively checked the trustworthiness of online resources by evaluating sources, cross-checking data, and asking colleagues.  Key barriers to using online resources included lack of time, finding reliable or relevant information, and negotiating conflicting results.  Some trustees wanted access to a third-party, repository of valid, reliable information.

Au cours des cinq dernières années, le processus de prise de décisions des officiels des conseils scolaires a suscité un grand intérêt. Il existe cependant peu d’études sur la façon dont ces dirigeants utilisent les ressources en ligne pour guider leurs prises de décisions. Grâce à un sondage en ligne et à des entrevues menées en personne, la présente étude se penche sur l’usage que font les commissaires scolaires (n=164) des ressources en ligne pour appuyer les décisions du conseil. Les commissaires se servaient d’articles en ligne (actualités, articles de recherche, revues) deux fois plus que des réseaux sociaux (Twitter, Facebook, blogues) ou de services d’archivage (services de coupures de presse, Google Scholar). Près de 70 % des commissaires se servaient de trois ressources ou plus pour guider leurs décisions. De 75 % à 85 % des commissaires estimaient que les articles en ligne et les services d’archivage étaient utiles. Les commissaires vérifiaient activement la fiabilité des ressources en ligne en évaluant les sources, en recoupant les données et en demandant l’avis de collègues. Les principaux obstacles à l’usage des ressources en ligne comprenaient le manque de temps, la difficulté à trouver des renseignements fiables ou pertinents, et l’évaluation de résultats contradictoires. Certains commissaires souhaitaient accéder à des archives externes rassemblant des renseignements fiables et valides.

Author Biographies

Robin Holding Kay, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Full Professor, Faculty of Education Robin Kay has published over 120 articles, chapters and conference papers in the area of computers in education, is a reviewer for five prominent computer education journals, and has taught computers, mathematics, and technology for over 20 years at the high school, college and university level. Current projects include research on laptop use in teacher education, learning objects, classroom response systems, e-learning, video podcasts, gender differences in computer related behaviour, emotions and the use of computers, and factors that influence how students learn with technology. He completed his Ph.D. in Cognitive Science (Educational Psychology) at the University of Toronto, where he also earned his masters degree in Computer Applications in Education. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Canada

Loralea Carruthers, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Graduate Student - Master of Arts (completed)


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