Student and faculty opinions on the impact of web-enhanced courses on the educational experience at Alabama community colleges

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University of Alabama Libraries

This quantitative study examined the perceptions of Alabama community college students and faculty toward Web-enhanced courses and the impact of these courses on the educational experience as defined by Chickering and Gamson's Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, an empirically based model. Secondarily, the study sought to determine if specific personal characteristics of each group influenced those perceptions. Findings indicate that the overwhelming majority of both students and instructors perceive Web-enhanced instruction to have a positive impact on the educational experience despite the fact that many instructors failed to utilize course management system tools that are designed to engage students in the learning process and to promote active learning (i.e., discussion boards, chat rooms, quizzes), favoring instead those tools designed to facilitate class management (e.g., announcements, posting syllabi, etc.). Moreover, the results of the study revealed that instructors continue to embrace the lecture as one of the primary teaching strategies employed in the classroom even though this strategy has been proven to disengage the learner from the learning process. Although the influence of identified student and instructor characteristics were less definitive and harder to explain within the context of the seven vectors, findings suggest that for students, race/ethnicity, enrollment status, and hours of computer use more broadly influenced their opinions in terms of the seven vectors and, in some cases, were predictors of their opinions. Likewise, hours spent participating in professional development activities and interacting with students broadly influenced instructor opinions.

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Education, Technology, Community college education, Education, Curriculum and Instruction