Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Web-Based Educational Information System for Enhanced Learning, EISEL: Student Assessment

Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Web-Based Educational Information System for Enhanced Learning, EISEL: Student Assessment

Article excerpt

Introduction

During the past couple of years, courses offered on the Internet have increased at an exponential rate. In today's world there is a great demand for learning. The Internet is being marketed as the effective vehicle for teaching and learning. And with the global nature of the Internet, this teaching and learning vehicle can reach the mass audience. There is a vast amount of courses, degrees and certificate programs offered on the Internet (e.g. Mind Edge (2003), which lists a total of 13,754 accredited and not for credit different courses). This pressure from the "education industry", which has been felt by the traditional universities since 1996, challenged the Universities to redefine and restructure their strategies for the higher education environment (Association of European Universities, 1996). As a result, higher education institutions are setting up their own Internet based "virtual" campuses (Onay, 1999).

Internet-supported and fully-Internet courses in higher education institutions are common nowadays (Pospisil & Willcoxson, 1998). The main objective of web based course environments is to enhance learning experiences and improve learning outcomes. In the past, students' perceptions on web based learning environments were mixed. While web based environments provided flexibility in time, space and distance and was well received by students in general (Eklund & Eklund, 1996), many students reported feeling isolated, lack of motivation or lack or support and feedback, which consequently led to drop out of the web course (Kum, 1999).

Regardless of the extent of failures or successes in running web-based courses (partially as part of the course or completely online without instructor intervention), the opportunity now exists to look more closely at the effectiveness of a web-based learning environment (Chang, 1999). However, since the web is a new medium (for developers, instructors and students alike) for course delivery and learning, it is not well known what factors in the online environment contribute more to students' perceived learning. As the exponential growth of online courses continue to impact students, it is imperative to gain a better understanding to improve instruction and students' learning (Jiang & Ting, 2000).

The idea of a learning environment is not new and has been around since the 1930s. However, the web based learning environment is new and was born in the early nineties. This new medium presents us with many challenges as well as opportunities. The web allowed us to disseminate information more effectively, enhance long distance education and create learning tools (such as multimedia learning applications and game based learning modules) focused on specific learning aspects. However, the most important question still remains under investigation: "Does the web enhance the learners' learning experience and improve learning outcomes? If so, then how?"

Research Objective

Given the importance of information technology for teaching and learning, it is vital that educators in higher education institutions understand better the elements contributing to the successes and failures of web based courses delivery systems. This involves the following:

* Multifaceted background nature of students around the globe,

* Beliefs of students with respect to web technologies,

* Perceptions and attitudes of students with respect to the effectiveness of using web based technologies on their learning and performance,

* Identification of perceived learning construct(s) and antecedents,

* Design issues related to the building of web based learning environments WBLE,

* Mapping or anchoring design elements of the WBLE to learning theories, and

* Evaluation and assessment tools.

Considering the above discussion, the primary objective of this research was to test an adapted version of the technology assessment model (Davis, 1989) as it relates to the perceptions and attitudes of students using a novel Education Information System for Enhanced Learning, EISEL. …

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