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To fully appreciate all the human and non-human influences involved, research into the applications of portal technology

should adopt such an approach and consider both the positive and negative consequences of this technology of Online Payment for College. It needs to take this heterogeneity into account and to find a way to give due regard to both the human and non-human aspects of these systems.

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His appropriate approach for use in any portals research depends, of course, on the type of research being undertaken. The approach will differ depending on whether this research relates to portal technology, portal implementation or portal applications. In this chapter I will consider only human aspects of research relating to the use of portal applications. The discipline of information systems is a socio-technical one that must consider how people interact with and use computerbased systems which are complex socio-technical entities involving both human and non-human components In this chapter I will argue that researching portal applications must necessarily also be of a socio-technical nature as it involves both humans and non-humans in the form of computers and communications hardware and portal software. There are a variety of approaches to socio- technical research, but I have found actor-network theory to be particularly useful. While many other approaches to research in technological areas treat the social and the technical in entirely different ways, actor-network theory (ANT) proposes instead a socio-technical account in which neither social nor technical positions are privileged A number of well known approaches exist to modeling how technological innovation takes place.

These include the Theory of Reasoned Action the Theory of Planned Behavior), the Technology Acceptance Model and Diffusion of Innovations In particular, both the Diffusion of Innovations and the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) are well known and widely used approaches to theorizing technological innovation and college online payment. An alternative approach that I have found to be very useful is that of Innovation Translation, informed by actor-network theory (ANT). This approach considers the world to be full of hybrid entities containing both human and non-human elements. It offers the notion of heterogeneity to describe projects such as the adoption of portal technology which involves computer technology, the Internet, the Web portal, broadband connections, Internet service providers (ISP), users and the individual or organization considering the adoption.