With the implementation of technology in education, educators accept responsibly for ensuring new approaches and tools add value to students’ learning. In this study, we follow a series of design-based research macrocycles (1,2) to monitor the impact of specific technology solutions implemented in the course and their perceived usefulness and value to students. Baseline findings indicated that value and usefulness of Reading assignments, the primary source of content delivery in the digital text, was limited. Since then modifications to both the course assessment structure for reading assignments and digital text itself were implemented.
This research will explore the impact of changes to the reading-related assignments and resources. The Reading assignments for each Module remained the same, offering links to specific sections of the digital text. However, we added for each Module a graded multiple-choice Reading Quiz to assess conceptual topics covered in the Reading assignment. Further, the digital text itself was enhanced to include interactive resources beyond the static textual content. Resource enhancements include hyperlink key terms, video lessons, and video examples. Key terms within paragraphs of the digital text are highlighted in blue, and clicking on the blue term displays a definition of the term in a popup window. Video lessons, appearing as a link at the beginning of most text sections, present a brief mini-lecture covering the topics of that text section. Finally, video examples are linked to select text example problems. The example problem is presented in static text form on the screen, and clicking a link opens a video detailing the solution process. Video examples demonstrate the solution process with audio narration and often include multiple solution approaches.
Preliminary intermediate results showed that the number of students that used the reading resources significantly increased from 70% in Fall 2012 to 82% in Spring 2013 and to 86% in Fall 2013, χ2 (3, N=529) = 11.4, p < .05. However, the perceived mean values for usefulness of readings increased only from 1.8 to 2.1 (with 5 being very useful), which was not a statistically significant increase. On the other hand, the changes tied to practice activities had a statistically significant increase in the perceived usefulness, with an increase of the average values from 3.1 to 3.4, F(3,525) = 2.9, p < .05.
1. Jonassen, D. H., Cernusca, D., & Ionas, G. I. (2007). Constructivism and Instructional Design: The Emergence of the Learning Sciences and Design Research. In R. A. Reiser & J. A. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (2nd ed., pp.45-52). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
2. Cernusca, D. & Ionas, I.G. (2014). Design-Based Research as a Form of Action Research. In: J. W. Willis & C. Edwards (Eds.), Action Research. Models, Methods, and Examples (pp.195-220). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
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