Volume 2, Issue 3, Winter 2004

Designing to Motivate: Motivational techniques to Incorporate in E-Learning Experiences

Charles B. Hodges
Virginia Tech


This paper addresses the construct of motivation as it relates to learning. Questions that will be discussed are (a) What is motivation, (b), how can motivation be incorporated in the instructional design process, and finally, (c) what motivational techniques have been used successfully in e-learning settings? Some general background information on motivation will be discussed. Two instructional design models for motivation will be described and examples of best practices for Web-based learning will be supplied.

The Interplay Between a Course Management System and Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge, Beliefs, and Instructional Practices

Thea K. Dunn
University of Wisconsin–River Falls


The multiyear study discussed in this paper focuses on the use of a course management system (CMS) to deliver video clips and interactive mathematics investigations and to support shared reflections in a field-based elementary mathematics methods course. The findings reveal that virtual observations of mathematics teaching episodes in diverse classrooms and participation in interactive mathematics activities and shared reflections via the CMS online discussion board challenged the preservice teachers to reconstruct their beliefs about mathematics teaching and diverse students. Classroom observations and excerpts from the discussion board illustrate how the CMS promoted changes in the preservice teachers’ mathematics knowledge and instructional practices. This study gives rise to important findings on the relationships between shared online reflections on virtual observations of mathematics lessons and mathematics teaching in diverse classrooms that are being utilized to inform decisions about teacher preparation programs and the mathematical education of diverse student populations.

Increasing Students' Interactivity in an Online Course

M Cecil Smith
Amy Winking-Diaz
Northern Illinois University


Efforts were undertaken to increase students’ interactivity in an online course in adult development. The purpose was to increase students’ engagement with the course materials, heighten their online discussions, and deepen their thinking about course-related concepts, theoretical principles, and research findings. Several strategies were used towards this end. Analyses of students’ discussions showed that they relied frequently upon personal anecdotes to make meaning of the theories and developmental principles covered in the course. The instructional strategies did not, however, bear a direct relationship to students’ participation, learning, or course performance. Rendering the course materials sensible in light of their personal experiences is a critical indicator of students’ understanding and learning. Instructors may want to redirect their attention from assessing students’ knowledge of factual contents in online courses where ability to discuss and analyze concepts and principles is a critical indicator of learning.

Student Traits and Attributes Contributing to Success in Online Courses: Evaluation of University Online Courses

Lori B. Holcomb
University of Connecticut

Frederick B. King
University of Hartford

Scott W. Brown
University of Connecticut


The purpose of this study was to examine the roles self-efficacy, specifically technology self-efficacy and distance education self-efficacy, and self-regulation play in students’ learning via distance education. This study examines a system for evaluating distance education courses in a similar manner to those for traditional university courses. Participants in this study were undergraduate and graduate university students enrolled in business distance education courses. Prior to the completion of the semester, students completed an online survey designed to measure technology self-efficacy, distance education self-efficacy, and self-regulation. Using a Likert-type scale, students rated the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with 53 statements that comprised the survey. Additionally, students responded to three short-answer prompts concerning the benefits and drawbacks of distance education. As indicated from this study’s results, students judged that course evaluations used for traditionally taught courses can also be appropriate for distance education courses. Finally, self-efficacy and self-regulation levels were compared across gender, with no statistically significant gender differences resulting.

Examining Students' Performance and Attitudes Towards the Use of Information Technology in a Virtual and Conventional Setting

Ahmed Ali
Abdulaziz Elfessi
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse


This paper reports findings of a study that examined student performance and attitudes towards the use of information technology in virtual and conventional settings. Students were preservice undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an educational media and technology course. All were fulltime, on-campus students, but one group completed the course entirely online. A Web-based survey was administered. The two groups completed pre and posttests on student performance, and a Likert-type attitude assessment. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted to determine if there were significant differences in attitude and performances. The findings revealed that there were no significant performance and attitude differences between the two groups.

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