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Title:The effectiveness of electronic mail as a medium for cooperative science learning
Author(s):McMullen, David Wayne
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Waugh, Michael L.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Secondary
Education, Technology of
Education, Sciences
Abstract:This study investigated the effects using electronic mail as a medium for cooperative science learning on the achievement and attitudes of 136 high school physics and physical science students from two similar yet geographically separated schools. Subjects were assigned to either the face-to-face or electronic mail treatment group using a generalized randomized blocks design. Subjects were pretested with the Test of Graphing in Science (TOGS) and given a seven week unit of instruction on graphing skills in science consisting of four in-class lessons with exercises and three science activities. Pairs of students worked either face-to-face in the classroom or via electronic mail with their partner on the series of science activities. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups on the TOGS posttest. A number of factors that might have influenced this result are: the nature, design and conduct of the particular activities selected, the characteristics of the electronic network used, problems encountered using the network, the level of computer literacy of the subjects and the nature and sensitivity of the measuring instruments used in the study. There were also no statistically significant differences between the groups on the author-developed Attitude Toward Science Class Instrument (ATSCI). Apparently, the treatment was not different enough from the traditional of normal science class to affect the students' beliefs or attitudes toward science class. There are two possible reasons for this including the nature and type of activities and the amount of student involvement in the electronic mail process. Several reasons were given by the students for enjoying the experience including: working with computers, having a partner, interacting with students at another school, and changing their normal class routine. The students also offered suggestions for improving the electronic mail experience including: making the activities more challenging or larger in scope, providing training in using a word processor prior to beginning the activities, and speeding up the information exchanges.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 McMullen, David Wayne
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI8916283
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI8916283

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