|TITLE:||ARTIFACT ANALYSIS OVER WEBCT AND MOODLE|
|PRINCIPLE INVESTIGATOR:||MILLER, KRISTOPHER|
ENGLISH, JOURNALISM, AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES
File Created: April 26, 2012|
Department Chair Action Date: April 27, 2012
Current Status: Final Status Report Received
|Confidentiality||Data are not linked to individuals|
STATEMENT OF PURPOSEThe purpose of this research study is to analyze WebCT’s and Moodle’s strengths and weaknesses as online instruction programs by analyzing the artifacts within the systems, measuring their usability, and comparing them to the best practices for online pedagogy. I am performing this research based on my experience using WebCT to teach English 108: College Writing and Research in the spring of 2011 and by writing instructions for Moodle, the courseware that will replace WebCT. The other reason for this research is to analyze the effectiveness of the artifacts of these courseware programs based on recent studies by other scholars examining distance learning technology and pedagogy. The purpose of this artifact analysis is to analyze elements of WebCT and Moodle to help improve future courseware design. The study will focus on each course system’s usability in areas such as discussion boards, wikis, chat functions, and grade systems. The study will also explore how Missouri Western State University instructors used WebCT and Moodle and it will contain their experiences on how each instruction program worked for them.
STATEMENT OF RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThe researcher will conduct both qualitative and quantitative research with instructors over WebCT and Moodle. The methodologies used are based on my own revisions of questionnaire and interview systems already developed for Course Management System (CMS) systems. Qualitative research will involve asking instructors’ about their experiences with their likes and dislikes with the systems, and usability of WebCT and Moodle through a set of scaled research questions and surveys. The quantitative research will involve recording statistics on how often some web functions were used and their levels of usage. I will use qualitative research methods to analyze and describe the courseware elements within a small set of courses and how the class content affects usability. WebCT and Moodle will be analyzed individually, as both possess different features and templates. The quantitative research portion will evaluate which functions were used the most in each instruction program and it will evaluate the ease of use of these functions in each of these programs. Finally, I will follow up with the surveyed instructors for additional input as needed. During the research, I will be using Survey Monkey to gain qualitative and quantitative data from instructors. I will also conduct personal interviews with instructors. Instructors will be asked sets of questions about their comfort zone with online course systems, since asking about their experience with online courses can relate to how their experience with WebCT and Moodle: • How comfortable do you feel using online courses to teach? • How long have you been teaching online? • How long have you taught in general? A general assessment will also be sent through Survey Monkey. The questions that will be used for the interview process will ask the following questions that asks in general which system’s functions are better: • Which system is more accessible? • Which system’s features are better? A usability checklist based on an evaluation of tools will be used to evaluate WebCT’s and Moodle’s tools. The checklist will ask instructors how difficult or easy it was to navigate WebCT and Moodle, how difficult or easy it was to create modules on WebCT and Moodle, how difficult or easy it was to use and create tools for WebCT and Moodle and how overall it was difficult or easy it was to operate WebCT and Moodle’s tools. The checklist will also ask instructors about a series of tools that will be evaluated from being very difficult to very easy. Another usability analysis will be conducted in regard to tools being used on both online course programs. It will ask instructors which tools were the most effective, which tools were the most graphically consistent with their function, and which tools were the most error tolerant. The following questions will be rated from 5=Very Difficult to 4=Difficult to 3=Neutral to 2=Easy to 1=Very Easy in regard to usability. 1. Overall, was it difficult/easy for you to navigate WebCT? 2. Compared to what you expected, how easy or difficult was it to create modules on WebCT? 3. How difficult/easy was it to use and create tools for WebCT? 4. Did you find the following tools difficult/easy: Discussion Board Chat E-Mail Grades Quizzes/Assessments Assignments Announcements Journal Calendar Dropbox Links The same questions will be applied to Moodle with the same scale: Overall, was it difficult/easy for you to navigate Moodle? Compared to what you expected, how easy or difficult was it to create modules on Moodle? How difficult/easy was it to use and create tools for Moodle? Did you find the following tools on Moodle difficult/easy: Forum Discussion Threads Chat E-Mail Grades Quizzes/Assessments Wiki Journal Assignments Announcements Calendar Dropbox Links Some qualitative research questions will be asked after these questions about the instructors’ overall experience: Which elements of WebCT do you find the most useful? Which elements of WebCT did you find the least useful? Which elements of Moodle did you find the most useful? Which elements of Moodle did you find the least useful? A survey based on Quesenbery’s Dimensions of Usability will also be used to analyze both WebCT and Moodle. The usability analysis will ask instructors what areas were more usable than others on both WebCT and Moodle. Below are the questions. The following tools for WebCT being evaluated include discussion boards, chat, quizzes and assessments, announcements, grades, and the drop box. 1. Which tool was most effective to your course on WebCT? 2. Which tool was the most graphically consistent with its function on WebCT? 3. Which tool was the most error tolerant on WebCT? The same set of questions will be applied to Moodle. The following tools for Moodle being evaluated include forums and discussion threads, chat, journals, quizzes and assessments, announcements, grades, wikis, and the drop box. 1. Which tool was most effective to your course on Moodle? 2. Which tool was the most graphically consistent with its function on Moodle? 3. Which tool was the most error-tolerant on Moodle? Some elements of Oztekin’s, Kong’s, and Uysal’s checklist will be used to check the usability for both WebCT and Moodle. This will be done qualitatively to analyze WebCT’s and Moodle’s usability features and tools, as well as features and tools universal to both programs for comparison. Interviews will also be conducted on these tools and features to accommodate the checklist, like the one sampled below. Both WebCT and Moodle will be evaluated separately with this checklist: • Describe how understandable/incomprehensible and meaningful/meaningless the symbolic representations were in the courseware. • Describe any meaningful forms of interaction between instructor and student. • Describe the capacity/incapacity of the system to engage aid instructors navigating the course. • Describe how accessible/inaccessible the courseware was in teaching online courses. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods will help clarify one set of results with another set of results to give a bigger picture of how MWSU instructors feel and how they interpret both course management systems.
ANTICIPATED RISKS AND BENEFITSThe primary risk for this research is revealing student and grade information. For this research project, all student and grade information will be kept anonymous. Furthermore, no student and grade information will be collected in this research project. All confidential information will be blocked out in any screenshots used for the thesis project. Instructors will be able to review any screenshots used to check that there is no confidential information that needs to be blocked out. Instructors may review the thesis for other confidential information that needs to be deleted. All instructors will remain anonymous for the research process and they will be given pseudonyms for the project.
SUBJECT SELECTIONA total of ten instructors have volunteered the researcher to access their classes. Each of the instructors has been given a pseudonym for the research study: Instructor 1 ALH 106 - Medical Terminology Instructor 2 PED 388 – Community Health PED 391 – Personal and Environmental Health PED 394 – Drug Education Instructor 3 ENG 104 – College Writing and Rhetoric ENG 210 – Approaches to Literature Instructor 4 ENG 108 – College Writing and Research ENG 232 – Language Awareness Instructor 5 ENG 210 – The Bible as Literature Instructor 6 TSL 660 - Methods to Teach L2 Students TSL 661 Instructor 7 LAT 101 – Introduction to Law LAW 440 – Juvenile Law Instructor 8 CED 278 – Nutrition and Weight Loss Instructor 9 ACC 418 - Accounting Info Systems Instructor 10 COM 324 – Small Group Communication
CONFIDENTIALITYInstructor, student information and grades will be kept confidential.
PRIMARY SUPPORTING DOCUMENTClick for Word Document
Extension Request on 10-26-2012I am requesting an extension of my thesis to the end of the semester. I am close to wrapping up my thesis and I am wrapping up some research details.
Final Report on 04-23-2013The thesis is officially turned in and ready for publishing. Research is also finished for the thesis. Research was conducted from an instructors' perspective analyzing usability between Moodle and WebCT. It is found that different instructors use different tools for WebCT and Moodle in different ways, as WebCT and Moodle are designed differently. WebCT is more linear, with more lines and boxes to contain information in the interface. Moodle is more nonlinear as it has fewer lines and boxes to contain information. WebCT's main screen has more boxes and lines while Moodle's main page is a continuous outline. Other tools were analyzed regarding how often they were used by instructors. There is hope that this article will open doors to how interfaces can be explored and even be improved upon for the instructors' end, so that the instructors can teach students online for the better.
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