The development of an evaluation framework for a Web-based course management system in higher education
Jason T. Abbitt, University of Idaho, United States
University of Idaho . Awarded
This study evaluated the use of a custom-designed course management system in use at a mid-sized public institution in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. While focusing primarily on gathering information relevant to the continued development of the course management system, this study sought to identify the relationship among user characteristics, usability factors, and acceptance of the course management system in order to clarify the application of the Technology Acceptance Model to this unique situation. Additionally, this study sought to identify common usability problems with specific course features encountered by the users. Participants in this study were 308 undergraduate and graduate students who were currently using the online course management system to take an Internet-enhanced or fully Internet-delivered course. The data collected via an online survey instrument indicated that three usability factors, ease of navigation, ease of learning, and visual perception were significant predictors of acceptance of the course management system. No significant difference in usability ratings was detected among users according to academic status, Internet connection speed, computer literacy, or experience with web-based course management systems. The usability of specific course management system features was examined using both Likert-scale items and content analysis of open-ended survey questions. The content analysis of the open-ended items revealed several specific problems that were commonly encountered while using specific course features. Based on these findings, several recommendations are made toward the improvement of the custom-designed course management system and also toward the improvement of the survey instrument for future use.
Abbitt, J.T. The development of an evaluation framework for a Web-based course management system in higher education. Ph.D. thesis, University of Idaho.
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