Use of multi-modal media and tools in an online information literacy course: College students' attitudes and perceptions

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    students' attitudes anby Hsin-Liang Chen and James PatrickAvailable online 13 December 2008

    This project studies the use of multi-modalmedia objects in an online information

    literacy class. One hundred sixty-twoundergraduate students answered seven

    surveys. Significant relationships are foundamong computer skills, teaching materials,

    communication tools and learningexperience. Multi-modal media objects and

    communication tools are neededto strengthen course interactions and

    interaction in web-based classes and to investigate

    ges 1424James Patrick Williams, College of Staten Island Library,The City University of New York, Staten Island, NY 10314, USA.

    14 The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 35, Number 1, paHsin-Liang Chen is Assistant Professor, School of InformationScience and Learning Technologies, University of Missouri at

    Columbia, 303 Townsend Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, USA;

    how these preferences inform navigation and perfor-mance within such courses. The investigators areinterested in learning what impact students feeltowards what media variety and interaction typehave on how they work within the web-basedenvironment and how their expectations and prefer-ences in such an environment relate to preferences forother online activities.

    BACKGROUND AND RELATED WORKEffectiveness Perceived By Students

    Evaluation of networked learning often focuses onattracting new students, generating new revenues, pro-viding students flexible and convenient educationalstudent engagement.Use of multi-modalonline informationedia and tools in anteracy course: Colleged perceptionsWilliams

    INTRODUCTIONWith the development of information and communica-tion technologies (ICT), networked learning has becomepopular at higher education institutions for reasonsincluding institutional advances, student enrollment,and instructional demands. Studies have shown that theuse of ICTs by instructors and students is increasingboth in and out of classroom.17 The increasing usage isa result of university investments in campus informa-tion infrastructure and technological implementationas well as studies of pedagogy; however, in the mean-time, the increase also demonstrates continuingdemands on campus.810 These demands are accom-panied by high costs. Therefore, university adminis-trators must determine whether investment in ICTs hasimproved the quality of teaching and learning.

    The quality of teaching and learning can be examinedthrough a variety of measures. The investigators areinterested in effectiveness from the learner's perspectiveand conduct this project in an online introductorytechnology and information literacy course for under-graduates. The course provides anoverviewof thehistoryof Internet and its social impacts alongside hands-ontraining in various technologies. Data collection tookplace in this course during the Fall 2005 semester.

    The goal of this project is to determine student pre-ferences over multi-modal media and tools for online

  • opportunities. Some researchers have identified dis-advantages in networked learning such as low self-motivation and discipline, minimal interaction with ins-

    Therefore, determining the appropriate multi-modallearning objects for synchronous and asynchronoustructors and peers, and lack of a learning framework.3,11

    However, Hara and Kling12 point out thatmost studiesfail to address students' difficulties, and the quality andeffectiveness of online distance education courses. Dueto the rapid development of ICTs and their applicationsto online education, it is important to re-examine thoseissues and see whether the findings from Hara andKling's study are still applicable. Bouhnik and Marcus13

    present a model promoting students' interactions withcourse content, instructors, and systems.

    Many public universities are required by state legis-lators or the U.S. Congress to justify their budgets andaccountability.14 Effectiveness is one aspect of account-ability measurement of education, as universities investenormous amount of money on technologies for ins-truction.1517 As the pedagogical focus moves fromteacher-centered to student-centered, instructionaleffectiveness should include students' feedback on theuse of technology.1820 Whether or not students per-ceive the same value in approaches to online instruc-tion as their instructors is an area that requires furtherstudy.21

    Multi-Modal Learning ObjectsMulti-modal learning objects in this study are

    identified in both visual and auditory modes. Theseobjects are text, graphic, audio, video, and instantmessaging. The instructors and students use theseobjects to communicate with each other. The use ofICTs can strongly influence the presentation and organi-zation of course content.22 Additionally, it can have greatimpact on in-class communication and interactionamong students and between instructors and studentsin both synchronous and asynchronous forms.

    Instructional technologists have promoted the useof multimedia in classrooms, believing that multimediaenriches the learning process and that students canperform better with visual images and words than justwords alone.23,24 However, some learning scientistsdoubt the effectiveness of graphical presentation onlearning opportunities.25,26 Mixed results in studentsfeedback indicate that multi-modal learning objects mayhave no influence on themagnitude of students' learningjudgment27; and some students still prefer face-to-facelectures which can be more animated than the Webformat.28 These different findings intrigue the investiga-tors to study the effectiveness froma student perspective.

    Instructional technologists have promotedthe use of multimedia in classrooms,believing that multimedia enriches thelearning process and that students canperform better with visual images and

    words than just words alone.instructional settings is an important topic for coursecontent development and student-centered learning.

    Students' AttitudesStudents' attitudes toward instructional media are

    related to motivation and learning outcomes.29 Sims30

    advocates the importance of aligning student percep-tions and expectations regarding interactivemultimediain the networked learning environment. According tohis study, sixty-eight Australian undergraduate studentsconsidered that effective interactivity should consist ofengagement, control, communication, design, the indi-vidual, and learning. Bruce, Dowd, Eastburn, andD'Arcy31 also find similar responses from college stu-dents in an online agricultural Web site over a six-yearperiod. Regarding resistance, Thompson and Lynch32

    discover that people with weaker Internet self-efficacybeliefs would be inclined to resist web-based instruc-tion. Therefore, students' attitudes and expectations areessential factors to the success of networked learningenvironment.

    Studied Online Course: INF 312Information In Cyberspace

    The course examined in this study, Information inCyberspace, is an online course with an enrollment over150 students at the University of Texas. It has beenevolving since 1998; it began as a face-to-face classroomcourse, but due to space constraints and studentdemand, it has evolved into a course that it taughtcompletely online. The content of the elective coursecovers the basics of technology and information literacy,and is taught by students and staff of the UT School ofInformation. In this course, students learn new skills forresearch and communication online, consider thehistory and future of the networked society, andregularly engage with new technologies. The courseemphasizes a hands-on, critical approach to finding,using, and sharing information on theWorldWideWeb.There are five core course modules: An Introduction toUnix and Linux, Computer and Internet Security, Inter-net History and Governance, Information Searching andEvaluation, and An Introduction to Copyright. Thecourse utilizes a variety of methods to deliver contentand to demonstrate the different modalities throughwhich information is delivered and organized online.The instructors present materials via a course Web sitecontaining instructionalmodules created by the instruc-tors, outside readings on various topics, streamingmultimedia lectures, synchronous multi-user and one-on-one chat, discussion boards, and online tutorials forhands-on exercises (Figs. 1 and 2).

    To communicate with students, instructors useemail, instant messaging (IM), discussion boards, onlinesurveys, up-to-date lists of frequently asked questions(FAQs), weblogs, social bookmarks, and face-to-facemeetings in the school's IT lab. Emphasis is placed onmultiple modes of contact and awareness of classmilestones, as well as the functional roles of under-lying technologies (hence the integrated assignment

    January 2009 15

  • Figure 2The Initial Page of an INF 312 Instructional Module

    Figure 1INF 312 Course Homepage

    16 The Journal of Academic Librarianship

  • Figure 3INF 312 Contact Information Page with Schedule and Online Indicatorsand class deadline countdown and browser/computerinformation).

    Each week, instructors and TAs are available tostudents via chat for more than 60 h. Students madeaware of whom they may immediately contact onlinethrough the course Web site that contains real-timeonline status indicators (Fig. 3).

    Additionally, in order to create community andcombat the illusion of isolation in such a large class,the instructors hold one live webcast discussion sessionFigureComponents of a Wper two-week module. These webcasts incorporatestreaming audio and video with text-based chat, voiceover IP, and other collaborative tools. Students are typi-cally provided with streaming audio and video of theirinstructors and guests related to the current topic, andare directed to a text-based chatroom in which theymay interact with one another, the instructors and TAs,and the guest speakers (Fig. 4).

    In order to expose students to the variety of syn-chronous collaborative technologies available, the ins-4ebcast Session

    January 2009 17

  • tructors alternate between the tools they use to presentthe group chat session. These tools include Blackboard's

    during the semester (one for each of the differentcourse modules), and one at the end of the semesterThe investigators proposed the following three researchquestions:

    1. What are the relationships among participants' demo-graphic characteristics, computer skills and usage, andtheir expectations about the online class?

    2. What are the relationships between the media em-ployed in each course module and the participantslearning experiences and satisfaction?

    3. What are the participants' perceptions of the over-all learning experiences and satisfaction levels in thisonline class?

    RESEARCH METHODSData collection included seven different surveys corre-sponding to course content. Online surveys wereconducted at the beginning of the course, immediatelyafter each of the five webcast sessions, and at the end ofthe course. The investigators' survey items were inte-grated within regular surveys designed by instructors to

    Figure 5Project OverviewOffice Hours (a text-only group chatroom), the morerobust Blackboard's Virtual Classroom (which includesa virtualwhiteboard and other tools), and the group chatfeature of Skype, a popular voice-over-IP client.

    The instructors of the course, who regularly sharetheir teaching experiences with one another, havefound that communicating with and maintainingstudents' awareness of others can be a challenge forsuch a course. In order to meet the challenge and toaddress the varying levels of experience with technol-ogy present among students, the instructors chose tooffer students a variety of communication options toensure that students remain informed and feel theirvoices will be heard.33

    The instructors have also incorporated enhancementsto course materials based on response from students,and seek to include a wide spectrum of technologies forcontent delivery. Based on the instructors' informalinteraction with students, such enhancements havecontributed to student excitement about the course,and also have helped to identify some areas in whichstudent attitudes indicate the limitations of someinstructional technologies. However, a systematic stu-dent-oriented instructional evaluation of the class isneeded to ensure the quality of the class. In creating thecourse content and delivery strategies, the instructorsneed to understand students' perceptions of the effec-tiveness of different approaches (collected through dis-cussion and surveys) and strive to create an instructionalenvironment inwhich students havemultiple paths andmulti-modal arrangements for engaging with theinstructional modules and among themselves and withtheir instructors.

    PROJECT OVERVIEWThis project is an exploratory study on the use of multi-modal media and tools for an online informationliteracy course. The goal of this project is to establish aframework for developing, designing, and evaluatingthe course. The investigators plan to report findings inthree parts. This paper is the first part of the projectfocusing on identifying meaningful variables whichmay have impact on students' online learning experi-ences based on students' feedback and self-evaluationat three different learning stages (before, during, andupon completion of the course). The second part willcover students' learning experiences from the begin-ning of the course to the end. Based on the variables andconnections among variables, the investigators willdiscuss design and evaluation principles for the classand implications for online education as a whole in thethird part (Fig. 5).

    RESEARCH QUESTIONSThe investigators consider that identifying meaningfulvariables is the first step for evaluating quality onlinecourses. Few studies focus on identifying such variables,particularly, at different learning stages. Therefore, theinvestigators used seven online surveys to collect datafrom students, one at the beginning of the semester, five

    18 The Journal of Academic Librarianship.

    '

  • Table 1Key Variables in 7 Surveys

    Survey Variable Anchors

    coming Computer skills 1 Beginner

    7 Fluent

    Frequency of computer use 1 I avoid them

    7 Constantly

    Tendency to procrastinate 1 I always procrastinate

    7 I am very motivated to complete my work early

    Use of instant messaging 1 I never use IM

    7 I constantly use IM

    Expectations in the class 1 I expect i312 to be much worse than a classroom course

    7 I expect i312 to be much better than a classroom course

    course modules Audio quality of webcast 1 Poor

    7 Excellent

    Video quality of webcast 1 Poor

    7 Excellent

    Particular tools used for webcast 1 Poor

    7 Excellent

    Ability to follow webcast program 1 I had lots of trouble following what was happening.

    7 I was able to follow both the chat and video presentationvery closely

    Class engagement 1 I would prefer not to interact with others during awebcast session.

    7 I am very likely interact with students and instructorsduring a webcast session.

    Comparison with a physical class 1 It is far worse than a large physical class

    7 It is far better than a large physical class

    Overall learning experience 1 Poor

    7 Excellent

    Overall satisfaction 1 The media did not suit the content for the course at all.

    7 The media suited the content very well.

    xit Convenience compared to other class 1 A lot less convenient

    7 A lot more convenient

    Video tutorials 1 Not useful at all

    7 Very useful

    Workload to other courses 1 Excessive

    7 A breeze

    Use of IM for student/instructorcommunication

    1 Useless

    7 Very helpful

    Technical problems 1 Lots of problems

    7 No problems at all

    Refer to other students 1 Definitely yes

    7 Definitely not

    Take online courses again 1 Definitely yes

    7 Definitely not

    A 7-point Likert scale.

    January 2009 19In

    5

    E

  • Tables 2 and 3 show the 162 students' characteristicsased on academic status and gender as well as theiromputer skills.

    Research Question #1: Question #1: What are theRelationships among Participants' DemographicCharacteristics, Computer Skills and Usage, andTheir Expectations About The Online Class?

    The data were analyzed with twomultiple regressionnalyses. The first multiple regression analysis used asredictors: students' academic status (freshman,ophomore, junior with senior as a reference category),

    gender (female with male as a reference category),computer skills, frequency of computer use, tendency toprocrastinate, and frequency of instant messaging use,and the dependent variable was the students' rating oftheir expectation for the online course. In this analysis,only students' computer skills and frequency of instantmessaging use reached a significant level. Therefore, forthe second multiple regression analysis, the investiga-tors used the two significant predictors (students'computer skills and frequency of instant messaginguse) and students' rating of their expectations for thecourse as the dependent variable. The regression is(R2 =0.097) and the overall relationship was significant(F2,159=8.50, p=0.000). Students' expectation scores arepositively related to their computer skills (t=2.76,p=0.006, Beta=0.33), and to the frequency of theirinstant messaging use (t=2.05, p=0.043, Beta=0.16).

    Table 2Participants' Characteristics (N=162)

    0 The Journal of Academic Librarianshipbc

    aps

    2elicit student feedback on the design and content of thecourse (Table 1). The investigators did not have access tothe survey data until after the class concluded and finalgrades for the semester were submitted.

    As part of the course orientation, students were re-quired to complete the incoming student survey, whichwas presented on a web page they accessed in com-pleting initial course requirements. The real-time web-cast session conducted during the second week of eachof the five core instructional modules served as thesetting for the five interstitial surveys. Toward the endof each of these webcast sessions, a hyperlink to anonline survey form was provided to students in theonline chat session. As discussion was winding down ineach webcast session, students were given time tocomplete each of the surveys, response submission wasclosed one hour after the webcast ended. Webcastsessions were not mandatory, but most students did,however, attend more than one webcast session. A linkto the web-based exit survey was shared with studentsupon their completion of the course's final examination.

    RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONThe investigators applied several multiple regressionanalyses to identify what variables might predict (1)students' expectations about the class (research question#1), (2) students' learning experience and overall satisfac-tion in each class module (research question #2), and (3)students' likelihood to refer other students to the courseand likelihood toundertake futureonline courses (researchquestion #3). The general purpose of the multipleregression analyses is to examine the relationship betweenseveral predictor variables and a dependent variable.34

    Participants' Characteristics

    Characteristics MeasurementNumber ofParticipants %

    Academicstatus

    1. Freshman 19 11.7

    2. Sophomore 49 30.2

    3. Junior 36 22.2

    4. Senior 58 35.8

    Gender 5. Male 98 60.5

    6. Female 64 39.5Research Question #2: What are the RelationshipsBetween the Media Employed in Each Course

    Module and the Participants' Learning Experiencesand Satisfaction?

    Table4presents themeanandSD foreachvariable from5 coursemodules. The surveywas conducted immediatelyafter the webcast session of each course module.

    The investigators used multiple regression analysesto analyze the following variables. The proceduredescribed above for the first research question wasalso used for the second research question. Students'learning experiences and satisfaction were used as thedependent variables, and the predictors were: audioquality, video quality, particular tools used for webcast,ability to follow the webcast program, class engage-ment, and comparison with a physical class.

    Course module 1As for students' learning experiences, the regression

    was (R2 =0.491) and the overall relationship wassignificant (F3,100=32.21, p=0.000). Students' ratings ofthe experience were positively related to the audioquality they reported (t=3.74, p=0.000, Beta=0.33), toBlackboard's performance as a synchronous classroomenvironment during the session (t=2.69, p=0.008,Beta=0.20), and to comparison with a physical class(t=4.98, p=0.000, Beta=0.45).

    Regarding overall student satisfaction, the regressionwas (R2 =0.457) and the overall relationship was

    Table 3Participants' Computer Skills, Attitudes and

    Expectations of the Class (N=162)MeanSD

    Computer skills 4.731.15

    Frequency of computer use 5.681.26

    Tendency to procrastinate 4.201.19

    Use of instant messaging 5.131.85

    Expectations in the class 4.911.21

    Based on a 7-point scale (1low, 7high).

  • Table 4Participants' Feedback on 5 Course Modules' Webcast Sessions (meanSD)

    odu=85

    .02

    .00

    .43

    .32

    .72

    .13

    .36

    .35

    viousignificant (F1,102=85.95, p=0.000). Students' satisfac-tion scores were positively related to audio quality(t=9.27, p=0.000, Beta=0.68).

    Course module 2For the second course module, the regression for

    student reports that the webcast session was a worth-while learning experience was (R2 =0.289) and theoverall relationship was significant (F2,78 = 15.87,p=0.000). Students' experience scores were positivelyrelated to their reports of class engagement (t=2.98,p=0.004, Beta=0.31) as well as their ability to follow thewebcast program (t=3.30, p=0.001, Beta=0.34).

    In terms of overall satisfaction with the webcastsession, the regressionwas (R2 =0.254) and the relation-ship was significant (F2,82=13.98, p=0.000). Students'satisfaction scores were positively related to the level ofaudio quality reported (t=2.57, p=0.012, Beta=0.25),

    VariablesModule 1N=104

    MN

    Audio quality of webcast 5.081.90 5

    Video quality of webcast 5.361.09 5

    Particular tools used for webcast+ 5.651.28 4

    Ability to follow webcast program 4.951.73 5

    Class engagement 5.011.42 4

    Comparison with a physical class 4.191.84 5

    Overall learning experience 4.451.73 5

    Overall satisfaction 5.071.40 5

    +5 different tools were used for 5 course modules. Only students with pre#4=58, and #5=47.

    64% response rate. 52% response rate.

    54% response rate. 39% response rate. 49% response rate.and to their ability to follow the webcast program(t=3.77, p=0.000, Beta=0.37).

    Course module 3For student scores of the overall learning expe-

    rience in the third course module, the regression was(R2 = 0.236) and the relationship was significant(F2,84=12.99, p=0.000). Again, students' experiencescores were positively related to the level audio qualitythey reported (t=2.61, p=0.011, Beta=0.25), and theirability to follow the webcast program (t=3.81, p=0.000,Beta=0.37).

    In terms of students' overall satisfaction with thewebcast session for this module, the regression was(R2 =0.3) and the overall relationship was significant(F2,84=18.02, p=0.000). Students' satisfaction scoreswere positively related to audio quality (t=4.11,p=0.000, Beta=0.39), and to their comparison of thepotential of webcasting versus a traditional large face-to-face class (t=2.93, p=0.004, Beta=0.28).Course module 4The regression for students' learning experience

    scores for module four's webcast was (R2 =0.396) andthe overall relationship was significant (F2,60=19.67,p=0.000). Once again, students' experience scores werepositively related to the level audio quality theyreported experiencing (t=3.50, p=0.001, Beta=0.37),and to their ability to follow the webcast program(t=3.87, p=0.000, Beta=0.41).

    Regarding overall satisfaction with module four'swebcast session, the regression was (R2 =0.438) andthe overall relationship was significant (F2,58=22.64,p=0.000). Students' satisfaction scores were posi-tively related to their reported levels of class engage-ment (t=5.37, p=0.000, Beta=0.53), and their abilityto follow the webcast program (t=3.70, p=0.000,Beta=0.37).

    le 2

    Module 3N=88

    Module 4N=64

    Module 5N=80

    1.31 2.411.61 5.021.31 5.761.09

    1.22 3.901.62 5.001.22 5.641.12

    1.23 4.211.31 4.090.88 4.992.00

    1.35 4.501.89 5.321.35 5.691.30

    1.27 4.691.47 4.721.27 5.001.41

    1.27 4.701.48 5.131.27 5.101.45

    1.20 4.331.43 5.361.20 5.531.04

    1.19 4.841.67 5.351.19 5.601.37

    s experience with other tools reported. Module #1=104, #2=63, #3=58,Course module 5The regression for students' learning experience

    scores in the fifth module was (R2 =0.338) with anoverall relationship that was significant (F2,74=18.85,p=0.000). Students' experience scores were positivelyrelated to their comparison of the webcast sessionwith a traditional large course a physical class (t=3.41,p=0.001, Beta=0.37), as well as to class engagement(t=2.71, p=0.008, Beta=0.30).

    In terms of students' overall satisfaction with thewebcast for the module, the regression was(R2 =0.421) and the overall relationship was significant(F3,76=18.41, p=0.000). Students' satisfaction scoreswere positively related to video quality (t=2.88,p=0.005, Beta=0.29), to Skype's performance as asynchronous classroom environment during the ses-sion (t=2.98, p=0.004, Beta=0.26), and to their abilityto follow the webcast program (t=3.50, p=0.001,Beta=0.36).

    January 2009 21

  • Research Question #3: What are Participants'Perceptions of the Overall Learning Experiencesand Satisfaction Levels in this Online Class?

    Table 5 presents the mean and SD for each variablefrom the exit survey. The survey was conductedimmediately after students finished the last onlinesection.

    Again, the same procedure for multiple regressionanalyses was used in this case. The dependent variableswere: a student's likelihood of recommending thecourse to others and undertaking other web-basedcourses in the future. The predictors were: the students'perception of convenience of INF 312 over face-to-facecourses, usefulness of video tutorials, comparison ofworkloadwith other courses, reported need for printingonline materials, personal contact, use of IM, and re-ports of fewer technical problems.

    As for students' likelihood of recommending thecourse, the regression is (R2=0.493) and the overall rela-

    ceived computer skills and frequency of instant messa-ging which are appropriate variables to predict theirtionship was significant (F2,43=20.95, p=0.000). Stu-dents' recommendation scores are positively relatedto perceived convenience of INF 312 (t=3.41, p=0.001,Beta=0.43), and instant messaging use (t=2.92, p=0.006,Beta=0.37).

    As for taking other web-based courses, the regressionis (R2 =0.332) and the overall relationship was signifi-cant (F2,43=10.70, p=0.000). The scores are positivelyrelated to instant messaging use (t=3.10, p=0.003,Beta=0.39), and to fewer technical problems (t=2.95,p=0.005, Beta=0.37).

    CONCLUSIONSThis project is focused on the integration of multi-modal media and tools in an online technology andinformation literacy class. Students used what theylearned in the class to participate in different class acti-vities and to show a mastery of the concepts introducedin the instructional modules. The findings show sig-nificant relationships among students' characteristics,computer skills, computer usage, online teaching mate-rials, preferred communication tools, learning experi-ences, and course satisfaction, as well as other factors.

    The application of multiple regression analyses assiststhe investigators to successfully identify students' per-

    Table 5Participants' Feedback on Exit Survey

    (N=46, 28% Response Rate)MeanSD

    Convenience compared to other class 6.260.88

    Video tutorials 6.430.94

    Workload to other courses 4.670.99

    Use of IM 5.851.45

    Less tech problems 3.131.39

    Refer to other students 6.151.14

    Take online courses again 5.281.63

    Based on a 7-point scale (1low, 7high).

    22 The Journal of Academic Librarianshipexpectations about the class. Additionally, the audiovideo quality of the multi-modal objects used in thesynchronous parts of the class serves as a proper vari-able to predict reports of their learning experiences andsatisfaction within the five course modules. In terms ofpredicting student ratings of overall learning experiencein this class, the convenience of the online class and thenumber of technical difficulties students encounteredwith the class are suitable variables. As of one projectobjective is to identify meaningful variables for evaluat-ing quality online courses, the investigators will developan evaluation matrix based on these variables in futurestudies.

    Regarding students' demographic characteristics andtheir computer skills and usage, female participantsreported lower levels of computer skill and indicated atendency to procrastinate in course work. Meanwhile,students' familiarity with computing technologiesappears to influence their expectations for the course.

    In general, the investigators found the quality ofonline AV materials varied in conjunction with studentlearning experiences in the five course modules. Whenstudents rated the quality of the AV materials high, theyreported that they were able to follow online courseactivities and to engage with their fellow students andinstructors. This additionally led higher overall satis-faction about the class. This finding suggests that thestructure of smooth-running technologies and direc-tion within which students can easily orient them-selves contributes to a more satisfying online learningexperience.

    When students rated the quality of the AVmaterials high, they reported that they

    were able to follow online course activitiesand to engage with their fellow students

    and instructors. This additionally led higheroverall satisfaction about the class.

    Findings also show reports of positive learning expe-riences as the result of experiencing fewer technicalproblems as well as use of multiple media and IM.Students with fewer technical problems indicated thatthey would recommend the course to their fellowstudents and will also likely take other online courses.On the other hand, students who experienced moretechnical problems reported a preference for face-to-face lecture courses. More frequent use of multiplemedia and IM seems to have prompted studentinstructor communications.

    In order to reach instructional goals of online courses,educational institutions must work to prepare students,particularly female students, with relevant and neces-sary computing skills. Additionally, based on the rangeof student reports on skills, confidence, and expecta-

  • tions, the creation of a self-assessment tool for skills andstudy habits might serve both students and the inves-tigators in terms of understanding the requirements of

    9. Llyod Armstrong, A New Game in Town: CompetitiveHigher Education in American Research Universities inDigital Academe: The New Media and Institutions of Higheronline courses and managing expectations for success.The results of this study suggest that online coursesshould provide a rich array of online media and com-munication tools to strengthen course interactions andstudent engagement. Additionally, this array of mediaand tools can expose students to the benefits and chal-lenges of dealing with information and informationtechnology in a networked world.

    The investigators have identified several factors tocontribute to the design and evaluation of web-basedcourses, specifically a course on the subject of technol-ogy and information literacy. This study, which focusedon a non-mandatory activity within an elective class,may not reflect the impressions of students with lowlevels of confidence with technology, as they may beless likely to take online classes, or, once enrolled inonline classes, may shy away from real-time collabora-tion that involves multiple technologies.

    For future studies, a detailed framework of coursedesign and evaluation and alternative data collectionmethods are needed. The framework will help educa-tional institutions and course designers implement highquality courses and evaluate course outcomes. In addi-tion to online surveys, the investigators plan to inte-grate other methods such as observations and personaljournals in future studies.

    Acknowledgments: The authors express their appre-ciation to the 162 students participating in this studyand to the instructors and teaching assistants of theINF 312 course in the School of Information at the Uni-versity of Texas at Austin.

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    6. David Bills, and Anthony Stanley, Social Science ComputerLabs as Sites for Teaching and Learning: Challenges andSolutions in Their Design and Maintenance TeachingSociology, 29 (2001): 153162.

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    Use of multi-modal media and tools in an online information literacy course: College students' .....IntroductionBackground And Related WorkEffectiveness Perceived By StudentsMulti-Modal Learning ObjectsStudents' AttitudesStudied Online Course: INF 312 Information In Cyberspace

    Project OverviewResearch QuestionsResearch MethodsResults and DiscussionParticipants' CharacteristicsResearch Question #1: Question #1: What are the Relationships among Participants' Demographic C.....Research Question #2: What are the Relationships Between the Media Employed in Each Course Mod.....Course module 1Course module 2Course module 3Course module 4Course module 5

    Research Question #3: What are Participants' Perceptions of the Overall Learning Experiences .....

    ConclusionsAcknowledgmentsNotes and References

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