Adoption and Use of a Computer-Mediated Communication System by Contact North Site Coordinators
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This paper describes some of the factors underlying successful use of the CoSy computer-mediated communication system in the Ontario Govern-ment's Contact North/Contact Nord Distance Education Project by 11 women who, in a relatively short period of time, acquired sufficient competence with CoSy to make conferencing an integral part of their role as community educators. Their very positive response to the technological demands of the job runs counter to expectations developed in much of the literature on women, work, and technology. For the most part, previous research has characterized women's relationship with technology as antagonistic. Our description of the process of adoption and use of CoSy at Contact North provides an alternative understanding of the initial relationship between characteristics of the individual and the machine. The reasons underlying resistance to technological change are an important source of knowledge; but equally important is the basis for enthusiasm that can greet new technological conditions of work. Rather than representing barriers to be overcome or problems to be surmounted, computer conferencing systems can offer a congenial setting for establishing the technical competence and positive attitudes that lead to adoption and use decisions.