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Title:Evaluating the effectiveness of web-based learning modules in Plant, Pathogens, and People (PLPA 200)
Author(s):Eastburn, Darin M.; D'Arcy, Cleora J.; Bruce, Bertram C.
Subject(s):Web-based laboratory
plant pathogens
Web-based learning
Education, Higher
Abstract:Students in Plants, Pathogens, and People (PLPA 200) complete assignments through the use of a web site designed to present content and allow the students to engage in virtual scientific experiments. The material on the site is a supplement to, not a replacement for, material presented in lecture. End of semester surveys indicate that students enjoy using the site and find it valuable, but we lack direct evidence to show that using the site enhances student learning. This study was undertaken to determine if students better understand course material as a result of using the web site. In the Fall of 2004 and Spring of 2005, students were asked to complete any two of three disease modules on the PPP web site. We then gave a series of short answer and essay questions on the final exam that compare students’ understanding of the PPP web covered diseases, as well as similar diseases that are covered in lecture but not on the PPP web site. Because of a distribution problem, with students self selecting the modules they would do, we changed the assignment for Fall of 2005 and Spring of 2006 by placing the students into specific web assignment groups. Initial results from the first semester of the study were encouraging, indicating that for some of the diseases students had better understanding (i.e., higher scores) of those diseases that they had learned about with the aid of the PPP web site. When given the choice, students generally preferred to answer questions on the diseases they had covered on the PPP web site and avoided those that they had not. Further analysis and inclusion of additional semesters shows that while use of the web site appears to increase learning about specific diseases in some instances, the improvements are not as consistent or as dramatic as we would have hoped. Based on the data analyses and the results of student focus group sessions, we now believe that we can use the PPP web site to help students understand and use the scientific method, rather than to reinforce material covered in lecture.
Issue Date:2006-08-15
Citation Info:Eastburn, Darin M., D'Arcy, Cleora J., & Bruce, Bertram C. (2006, August 15). Evaluating the effectiveness of web-based learning modules in Plant, Pathogens, and People (PLPA 200). Provost's Initiative on Teaching Advancement (PITA): Final report. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Genre:Report (Grant or Annual)
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/43873
Publication Status:unpublished
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Sponsor:University of Illinois, Provost's Initiative on Teaching Advancement (PITA)
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-04-24


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