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Digital Learning Preferences: What Do Students Want?

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

COED: Online and Blended Learning Part 1

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Carole E. Goodson University of Houston

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Carole Goodson is a Professor of Technology at the University of Houston. As an active member of ASEE, she is a member of the Academy of Fellows, a past Editor of the Journal of Engineering Technology, a past Chair of PIC IV and the ERM Division, and a past Chair of the Gulf Southwest Section of ASEE.

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Susan L. Miertschin University of Houston

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Susan L. Miertschin, M.Ed., M.S.I.S., is an Associate Professor teaching in the Computer Information Systems program at University of Houston. Her teaching interests are in the areas of (1) information systems applications development and the complementary nature of back-end developer and front-end developer skill sets and (2) managing IT services. Her research interests are program and student assessment, the impact of instructional technology on student learning, and the improvement of e-learning environments and experiences.

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Barbara Louise Stewart University of Houston

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Barbara L. Stewart is a Professor of Retailing and Consumer Science at the University of Houston. Her teaching and research interests are in the application of strategies to improve student learning and life enhancement in online courses. She has served as an academic administrator and in leadership positions for numerous professional organizations.

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Digital Learning Preferences: What Do Students Want?

With the advent of Learning Management Systems (LMS) and proliferation of the use of digital devices, instructors have increasingly incorporated digital approaches into classes - some converting classes to online, others to hybrid and still others to an approach that integrates digital technologies into traditional classes. Educause reports that 85% of faculty use a LMS, with 74% reporting that it is a “useful tool to enhance teaching.” Eighty-three percent of students use a LMS with 56% reporting it as useful (Educause, The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment by Grown, Dehoney and Millichap).

Learning management systems provide opportunities for a variety of instructional approaches. Instructors are able to consider instructional strategies for their courses that have both a digital and a non-digital implementation approach. If both digital and non-digital versions of the same (or similar) strategies are available, how does the instructor make the choice of whether to incorporate the digital or the non-digital version into their courses? It is important that educators make decisions about using a digital versus a non-digital tool or strategy in an informed manner. Which is better for the students, the instructor, or other stakeholders in educational processes? One model for exploring how to infuse technology into the classroom is the SAMR model designed by Ruben Puentedura. This model describes technology integration through four levels including: 1) substitution, 2) augmentation, 3) modification and 4) redefinition ( ). Additional research is needed.

Although digital approaches can be successful, some non-digital approaches may still be preferred. In order to determine the digital tools that are perceived as most effective by students, 222 students, enrolled in seven different course sections, completed a survey in the 2017 spring semester. The survey identified instructional features/strategies that are available for both digital and non-digital implementation; students were queried as to their perceptions of the relative value of each feature/strategy with respect to its implementation, digital versus non-digital, for their personal learning.

Using the results of the survey and related literature, the current study explores and address issues such as the following:

• What comparative value do students perceive for the non-digital implementation of a particular instructional feature/strategy compared to its digital implementation? • Do students who complete most courses online differ in their preference for specific digital tools from those who complete most of their courses in a traditional format?

Results of the research are presented with implications for how instructors can integrate digital and non-digital strategies to encourage student learning.

Goodson, C. E., & Miertschin, S. L., & Stewart, B. L. (2018, June), Digital Learning Preferences: What Do Students Want? Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30335

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