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Attitudes of under-graduate education majors on web-enhanced and traditional instruction at Fayetteville State University.

This study examined the attitudes toward web-enhanced and traditional instruction of undergraduate education majors. The Instructional Strategies Instrument was administered to students enrolled in EDUC 310, Foundations of Education and EDUC 340, Human Growth and Development classes in the School of Education at Fayetteville State University. The participants consisted of 100 students and two university professors.

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In most recent years, the rapid increase to incorporate technology into the curriculum in institutions of higher education has led tenured professor's to question the effectiveness of traditional instruction. The use of technology or web-enhanced courses is up-and-coming as the most common method of instruction in most institutions of higher learning. However, this being the case, how does this impinge on professors who have not been trained to use technology in the classroom or who feel comfortable continuing proven effective traditional instructional methods ? There are certainly many challenges for faculty who are not technologically literate, as well as those who are.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of under-graduate education majors on the effectiveness of web-enhanced instructional strategies and traditional instructional strategies.

Review of Related Literature

Traditional instruction includes teaching strategies where students learn by listening to information presented by the professor, such as, lecturing, classroom discussions and recall instructional model, (Huitt 1999). According to Huitt, traditional instruction challenges the technology experts of education and shows that even the most at-risk student can excel, if only educators teach them. The success of traditional instruction has for years provided substantial evidence of its success. According to Huitt in 1999 the demand for traditional instruction method is likely to decline, while more advanced instructional strategies will increase. The research suggested that educators who integrate technology or other creative instructional methods into their learning environment will impact the lives of many and remain vital for years.

Traditional instruction is a method rich in structure and content, and is the most desired methods of instructional delivery for tenured university educators; however, this contradicts what is actually being taught to future educators in universities. Traditional instruction continues to bring remarkable success at low cost when it is implemented, (Schug et al. 2001). It has been suggested from university professors that face-to-face instruction was essential to students' learning and without it students suffer. (Schutte 1996). According to the author, lack of face-to-face interaction with the professor led to greater interaction between students and this collaboration resulted in higher student test results, (Schutte 1996).

According to Garson (1998) Schulman and Sims (1999), combining the traditional and on-line approach is probably most productive for those students whose communication skills were not up to par. Online instruction, according to Kubala (1998), is a form of individualized instruction. It requires regular contact between the student and the instructor for maximum learning to occur. Kubala found that students were more students were willing to participate in class discussions and other learning activities online when compared to the traditional mode of learning.

Methodology

Undergraduate students enrolled in EDUC-340 Human Growth and Development and EDUC 310 Foundations of Education classes participated in this study. The students in these courses were taught by two professors in the School of Education. One course was taught using face-to-face instructional strategies, while the other used web-enhanced instruction. The web-enhanced course had the majority of its course assignments, lecture materials and projects using the university's Blackboard System. This required all students to login into the university's Blackboard System and participate in on-line class discussions. Students were asked regularly to respond to questions and topics related to the course content posted on-line. The course taught by the professor using traditional instructional strategies conducted classroom discussions and group assignments in class. Students in both courses were asked to complete a survey on how they felt about the two different forms of instructional delivery. Instructors used the same textbook for both classes.

Results of Study

Data was collected from 100 participants and analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Findings showed that: (a) 44% of the students surveyed preferred traditional instructional delivery and 56% preferred web-enhanced through the use of technology in the instructional delivery, (b) 77% preferred receiving hard copies of syllabi and other materials, while 23% preferred retrieving this information on-line, (c) 55% preferred taking course tests in class using the traditional tools of paper and pencil, and 45 % preferred testing to be computer generated, such as timed test and tests posted online and submitted on line to professor, (d) 69% preferred face-to-face discussions in class and 31% preferred electronic discussions, (e) 75 % preferred electronic accessibility of grades, and 25% preferred going to the professor for grades, and (f) 57% preferred receiving notes and PowerPoint presentations electronically and 43% preferred taking notes, receiving hard copies of study guides, and other lecture materials in class.

In summary, it appears as if the undergraduate students' attitudes concerning web-enhanced and traditional instructional strategies are indicators of changing trends. It should be noted that the students who preferred traditional instruction and hard copy materials were non-traditional students over the age of thirty-five. This study further supports (Schutte 1996) in how virtual instruction improves the communication among its students. Many students in the study, who were computer illiterate, stated that when assisted by other students, cohesiveness and communication among them improved. Classrooms today have evolved from the traditional instructional delivery into a more advanced approach. Both forms of instructional strategies have proven successful in teaching and learning, but as new approaches emerge, university professors are challenged to incorporate technology into their teaching. In five years there will still be a demand for traditional instruction; however, the demand for on-line and web-enhanced instruction is destined to grow. Professors who implement technology into their instruction could impact the attitudes of their students.

References

Garson, G. D. (1998). Evaluating implementation of web based teaching in political science. PS: Political Science & Politics, 31(3), 585.

Huitt, W. (1999). Web-based instruction: Why and how faculty should get involved. Paper presented at the Seventh Annual Applied Psychology Conference, Valdosta, GA.

Kubala, T. (1998). Addressing student needs: Teaching on the Internet. THE Journal (Technological Horizons in Education), 25(8), 71.

Schug, M; Tarver, S; & Western, R. (2001). Direct instruction and the teaching of early reading. Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Report, Vol. 14.2.

Schulman, A. H. & Sims, R. L. (1999). Learning in an online format versus an in-class format: An experimental study. THE Journal (Technological Horizons in Education), 6(11), 54.

Schutte, J.G. (1996). Virtual teaching in higher education: The new intellectual super highway or just another traffic jam? California State University, Northridge.

Dr. Linda Wilson-Jones, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Dr. Marlene Caston, Professor, Department of Elementary Grades, Fayetteville State University.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Linda Wilson-Jones at lwilson-jones@uncfsu.edu.
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Article Details
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Author:Caston, Marlene
Publication:Journal of Instructional Psychology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:1132
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