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The Efficacy of a Course Management System in Learning: Perceptions of Students and Faculty at one Ontario College

Abstract: The widespread adoption of course management systems (CMSs) by colleges and universities has occurred in a vacuum of research into their effectiveness for learning. This case study is based on quantitative and qualitative data collected by survey, interview, and document analysis that explored the perceptions of students and faculty, regarding the impact on learning of the use of a CMS in the initial semesters of the business programs at a large, urban, multiculturally diverse college. This college has a long history of CMS use and a stable CMS infrastructure. This study explored the purposes for which the CMS was used, the characteristics of its use that enhance student learning and those that create barriers to learning, as well as the perceptions of students and faculty about what constituted the effective use of the CMS, in campus based courses. While the students are not as technology adept as some of the literature claims, and the perceptions of the students do not always match those of the faculty; the findings of this study provide compelling evidence that, even though the use of the CMS at this college focuses on supporting the transmission of information, this is perceived by the students to be an integral part of their education. The greatest benefits to learning are the ways in which the CMS, when used effectively, facilitates access to and organisation of information, thereby helping the students to keep track of what they need to do to be successful in the courses. Over, under, or misuse of the CMS course sites is viewed by the students as a constraint to learning. Even though on the surface it appears that the systems are being used solely to augment conventional practices, the use of the CMS has, in fact, added useful dimensions to the ways of teaching and learning. Implications for practice are discussed and a model for how the systems may be used to enhance learning by helping students to organise and keep track of information is presented.

Author: Valerie Mary Lopes

Source: University of Toronto - TSpace

Size: 5.11 MB
Last Updated: August 4, 2015