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Effectiveness Of A Multimedia General Education Course

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.248.1 - 5.248.7



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Patricia Backer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Effectiveness of a Multimedia General Education Course

Patricia Ryaby Backer San Jose State University


The current paper describes the design, development, and evaluation of self-paced multimedia modules that are used in an advanced General Education course at San Jose State University. The design and development cycle of these modules began in 1994 and continues to this date. The General Education course, Technology and Civilization (TECH 198), is designed to introduce students to the realm of history and usage of technology in society and to increase their awareness of both the uncertainties as well as the promises of the utilization of technology as a creative human enterprise. During the summer session 1999, the completed modules were field-tested in one section of the class with fourteen students. The students were randomly assigned to two groups: group 1 completed the multimedia module on Unit 1 (The Nature of Science and Technology) and group 2 completed the multimedia module on Unit 2 (Technology and Work). When comparing performance on pre-test and post-test measures, this study produced inconsistent results. For Unit 1, there was no difference in student performance when comparing the multimedia-based instruction with the traditional classroom instruction. In fact, the students taking the multimedia-based instruction for Unit 1 did significantly worse on the posttest (t = 2.457, p = 0.022) than those students in the traditional classroom. The results from Unit 2 differ from those of Unit 1. For Unit 2, both groups had significantly higher scores on the posttest than on the pretest. Also, Group 2 performed better overall on the posttest than did Group 1 although the difference was much less than the difference for Unit 1 (Group 1 Mean = 7.7 and Group 2 Mean = 8.4). This result would indicate that, for Unit 2 at least, the instruction by self-paced multimedia was as good as the "traditional" classroom instruction.

I. Introduction

There has been much discussion in general educational publications about the value of instructional technology, in particular multimedia or WWW-based instruction. Much of the published work thus far has described various features of multimedia systems in an anecdotal manner rather than focusing on an evaluation of multimedia and its use in the university setting1. In all of the discussion on multimedia, the nature of multimedia and learning using multimedia are interlinked. That is, most authors attribute positive pedagogical implications to multimedia merely because of its nature or structure. This perspective combines two aspects of learning, what is learned and how it is learned, into one entity. This pedagogical perspective has some foundation in the literature. There have been long-standing claims that students learn faster and retain more information the more they are involved in the learning process.

Backer, P. (2000, June), Effectiveness Of A Multimedia General Education Course Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8328

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