The Explained Effects of Computer Mediated Conferencing on Student Learning Outcomes and Engagement
Cain, Darrell L.
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There has been an increasing growth in the use of technology resources in traditional classroom styled higher education courses. This growth has received with both optimism and criticism. One of the issues critics have posed is that the use of technology resources does little, if anything, to improve student learning. As a result, this research examined if the use of technology contributes to student learning outcomes and student engagement activities, above and beyond student demographic variables. Specifically, this study investigated if the use of computer mediated conferencing (CMC) tools (i.e., email and electronic discussion boards) and computer aided instructional (CAI) resources (i.e., use of the computer and the Internet) contribute to student learning. Included in the sample were 2000 college students, which were randomly drawn from the 2003 College Student Experience Questionnaire database. The survey included 53 Likert scale items with reliability ranges from .78 to .88 on each of the composite scales. For the data analysis, eight multiple regressions were conducted on student learning outcomes and student learning engagement. Student learning outcomes included four composite scales, measuring students' personal and social development, general education gains, intellectual development, science and technology gains, and vocational preparation. The student engagement scale was comprised of three composite scales, which included faculty interactions, social, political and scientific discussions, and diversity and social interactions. The findings revealed that the use of technology resources does contribute to student learning, above and beyond student's background variables. The model inclusive of technology variables explained 4% to 7% of the gains in student learning, while student background variables contributed .03% to 2% of the gains. The findings suggest incorporating the use of technology can aid students in the learning process, though the effect size was fairly modest in most cases. The use of computer mediated conferencing and computer assisted learning tools should be used in combination with traditional classroom instructions to have the best effects.
- Doctoral Dissertations