Academic journal article Communications of the IIMA

An Application of the UTAUT Model for Understanding Student Perceptions Using Course Management Software

Academic journal article Communications of the IIMA

An Application of the UTAUT Model for Understanding Student Perceptions Using Course Management Software

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Blackboard[R] is a Web-based tool that is becoming an important and popular course management software application in higher education. Moreover, Blackboard[R] has been predicted to be the future of all types of distance learning. It provides a number of learning tools, including an online discussion board, course content management, a course calendar, information announcement, electronic mail, reviews, auto-marked quizzes and exams, navigation tools, access control, grade maintenance and distribution, student progress tracking, etc. Blackboard[R] benefits include a high level of interactivity, a greater level of learner enthusiasm, and a high level of satisfaction. This paper describes student perceptions in terms of applying the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model. The UTAUT model consolidates previous TAM related studies. However, in this study mixed support for this model was found in terms of the reliability of the scale items representing the UTAUT constructs and the hypothesized relationships. Although students tend to agree that Blackboard[R] is a good idea and use it frequently, most of software's features are not being used to their fullest capability.

INTRODUCTION

Over the past several years, institutions of higher education have increasingly invested in course management software to provide a virtual learning environment designed to enhance student learning and to assist in the administration of the course itself. In addition, the need for integration of education, practice, and information technology is growing. University and other instructors are often encouraged to find ways to help their students improve their learning skills both inside and outside of the classroom. With the advancement of the Internet and Web technologies, instructors can make online demonstrations of real world applications, as well as facilitate and guide students through the process of analyzing real world cases, gathering information, testing validity and applicability, and creating meaningful solutions for business organizations. Moreover, students can use Web-enabled technologies to access course materials, contact instructors, submit assignments online, and collaborate on team projects. Indeed, the use of the Internet and Web technologies is quickly becoming an educational given, and an important, yet increasing visible part of the students' learning environment.

This paper focuses on student perceptions by applying the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model. Many universities have or are planning on instituting course management software such as Blackboard[R] to support development of problem-solving and critical thinking. However, there currently has not been much research to explore the effectiveness of using course management software. To this end, it is important to learn its perceived usefulness from the student perspective. By better understanding these perceptions, the results of this study may help colleges and universities make better investment decisions and assist instructors in using this technology more effectively. Moreover, it can help course management software designers improve the learning tools to obtain high level satisfaction in the learning environment.

BLACKBOARD[R]--WEB-BASED COURSE MANAGEMENT AND LEARNING TOOL

Blackboard[R] is a Web-based tool that is becoming an important and popular course management software application in higher education. It provides a number of learning tools, including an online discussion board, course content management, a course calendar, information announcement, electronic mail, reviews, auto-marked quizzes and exams, navigation tools, access control, grade maintenance and distribution, student progress tracking, etc. (Hutchins, 2001). Students can access the course materials and engage collaborative learning as long as they have an Internet connection. Blackboard[R] has been predicted to be the future of all types of distance learning (Clark & Lyons, 1999; Lu, Yu, & Liu, 2003). …

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