Volume 4, Issue 1, Summer 2005
The Importance of Interaction in Web-Based Education: A Program-level Case Study of Online MBA Courses
Though interaction is often billed as a significant component of successful online learning, empirical evidence of its importance as well as practical guidance or specific interaction techniques continue to be lacking. In response, this study utilizes both quantitative and qualitative data to investigate how instructors and students perceive the importance of online interaction and which instructional techniques enhance those interactions. Results show that instructors perceive the learner-instructor and learner-learner interactions as key factors in high quality online programs. While online students generally perceive interaction as an effective means of learning, they vary with regard to having more interaction in online courses. Such variations seem to be associated with differences in personality or learning style. The present study also shows that instructors tend to use technologies and instructional activities that they are familiar with or have relied on in traditional classroom settings. When it comes to learning more sophisticated technologies or techniques, instructors vary significantly in their usage of new approaches.
Comparing Learning Style to Performance in On-Line Teaching: Impact of Proctored v. Un-Proctored Testing
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact that proctored versus un-proctored testing would have on learning for an on-line content module; and examine the relationship between LASSI variables and learning. A randomized, pre-test/post-test control group design was employed. College students in a pharmacy curriculum, were randomized to two groups utilizing asynchronous, on-line content with a medical terminology module. Group A utilized proctored, on-line testing, while Group B utilized un-proctored on-line testing. Both were given a pre-test and post-test on medical terminology at the beginning and end of a sixteen week semester. The Learning and Study Strategies Inventory was administered to all students. On-line module delivery paired with proctored testing was more effective in promoting learning when compared to on-line module delivery paired with un-proctored testing. The constructs: anxiety, self-testing, attitude/interest and motivation were significant in predicting learning for proctored students. No significant model emerged for un-proctored students.
Exploring Instructional Design Issues with Web-Enhanced Courses: What Do Faculty Need in Order to Present Materials On-Line and What Should They Consider When Doing So?
Training faculty to add technology to courses should begin with a needs assessment. Design considerations should be incorporated into training to avoid student confusion in using web pages and completing on-line quizzes. Generally, web-enhanced courses can follow a constructivist approach if instructors have the prerequisite skills in place to use the technology. Faculty may also want to consider the ethical implications in testing students on-line.
Cross Relationships between Cognitive Styles and Learner Variables in Online Learning Environment
This study examines how students’ cognitive styles are correlated with their attitudes toward online education and learning behaviors in online learning environments. The Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) and the attitude survey toward online instruction were administered to 104 students enrolled in various online courses at the University of Tennessee. The study findings revealed that students’ cognitive styles were not significantly correlated with their attitudes and preference for instructional delivery modes while other factors such as previous online learning experience and computer competency were significantly correlated with students’ learning outcomes and attitudes toward online instruction.