What do we really know about student use of these resources? is it more important to measure student learning or to study how well the tool can be navigated and utilized? (Lindsay, 2006: p431)
Zayed University and Our Students ZU founded 1998 - a laptop university - to educate UAE National women (Emirati). Approx 3000 now. School education mostly in Arabic. ZU an English language university, accepting IELTS 5.0 entry. Most students attended poorly funded government schools Poorly resourced or non-existent school and public libraries
Do students use Infoasis (our online information literacy tutorial) and if not, why not? Fiona Hunt, Janet Martin and Jane Birks
Research – our Arab context Our research tried to identify factors which may affect the ability of our students to engage with and learn from an online resource such as Infoasis. Traditional factors UAE specific factors Usability (navigability etc.) Cultural considerations Prior knowledge of content Educational background Technological experience Language ability Learning styles Motivation to engage
Research methodology Literature review This included consideration of the CWAM model, which concludes that website usefulness and usability are key determinants of the acceptance and usage of course websites Survey We pilot tested and then surveyed through online questionnaire the entire cohort of students undertaking the foundational IL course using both Infoasis and face-to-face class instruction. 160 useful responses. Analysis Analysis of Perception online questionnaire results, including cross analysis. Simultaneous analysis of web site log files to verify access records for Infoasis.
1. Usability of Infoasis 2. Usefulness of Infoasis 3. Actual use being made by students
Findings Student response concerning usability… Language level Amount of text Images Interactive components Navigation … lets have a look at Infoasis to demonstrate what we have done
Findings Student response concerning usability was positive Language level: 94% agreed with the statement that the language is simple and easy in Infoasis Amount of text: 91% agreed with the statement that the amount of text on each screen is about right for me Images: 97% liked the images used in the tutorial Interactive components: 79% liked the movies and animations in Infoasis Navigation: 89% agreed with the statement that it was easy for me to find information that I need and 88% found it easy to find their way around the site
Findings Student response concerning usefulness… Perceived value of content: 93% agreed with the statement that Infoasis has information that is useful to me 91% agreed with the statement that using Infoasis improves the quality of my university study Perceived future value: 85% think Infoasis will be useful after this course
Findings 59% said they never or not usually use Infoasis from home! The top two reasons for not using the resource from home: There is no need to use it (32%) Not enough time (31%)
Findings Likely reasons for not using Infoasis outside the classroom in this culture? We have considered: lack of motivation paucity of autonomous learning skills
Findings - Motivation Educational research indicates that: There is a strong correlation between student engagement with a task, and assessment requirements. (Nicholls, 2002; Ramsden, 2003) Our research and experience in the UAE culture indicates that: The authoritative role of the teacher and the preference of students for more structured learning experiences, strengthen the need for teacher direction and assessment to drive student motivation.
Findings – Autonomous Learning Skills UAE researchers have identified weak autonomous learning skills in Emirati students, largely because of their educational background. (Bel Fekih, 1993; Haider, 1999; Mynard, 2003; Richardson, 2004) … however 78% of respondents agree or strongly agree that I find it easy to learn on my own 58% of respondents agree or strongly agree that I am good at managing my study time
Findings – Conclusions Our students DO find Infoasis to have both good usability and usefulness.
Findings – Conclusions Improved use of Infoasis outside of the classroom is likely to result when: cultural issues of teacher direction and extrinsic rewards are addressed. autonomous learning skills of students are improved, as the education system improves.
Improve the intrinsic motivation of students. Confirmation that extrinsic rewards and increased direction from the teacher will increase the extent of students use of Infoasis outside class. Research into the autonomous learning skills of our Emirati students.