African American students' perceptions of a technology-enhanced learning environment: A case study
Jaami Dawan, Northern Illinois University, United States
Northern Illinois University . Awarded
An initial interest in interface agent characteristics preferred by African American high school students and graduates resulted in this study. Classroom observations and participant involvement in the field setting raised additional areas of interest. Thus, the focal point of this qualitative participant observation research included examining the classroom environment of an underrepresented and economically disadvantaged population when provided classroom experiences to prepare for the ACT. Settings were a public inner-city community college and a public urban university. The participants were African American students, the majority of whom were high school sophomores. The rest were high school graduates.
The research question looks at what happens among students, computer-based learning, learning materials, and the instructor in a classroom environment when African American high school students and graduates accept an opportunity to be provided study skills and materials to prepare for the ACT.
The research was conducted over two sessions---an eight-week session and a four-week session---involving two groups of students. The instructors and participant observer along with 26 student participants were engaged in teaching and learning in an ACT preparation course. The primary data sources were the observations, interviews, and the initial and post surveys completed by students.
For this study's population, based upon data analysis, it appears that several situations occur among students, computer-based learning, instructional materials, and the instructor in a classroom environment when African American high school students and graduates accept an opportunity to be provided study skills and materials to prepare for the ACT.
Older and more mature students seem to be more motivated than younger students. These older students were more focused on their career and life goals and found pleasure from a well-conducted, organized, and professional course. Last, it was determined that an instructor must be well prepared academically and have instructional strategies in place prior to entering the classroom for this group.
As a note of caution, most of the findings for this preliminary research should be applied only to the small population employed in this study. The findings do suggest a need to conduct a full-blown study to investigate the themes that emerged from this study.
Dawan, J. African American students' perceptions of a technology-enhanced learning environment: A case study. Ph.D. thesis, Northern Illinois University.
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