Applicability of course delivery on an LMS

The University ( virtual or otherwise) is still an organization which needs to avoid the pitfall of expecting technology to increase effectiveness just by being used; rather we need to turn our attention to how it is used. (Hornik et al 2008)

At my University we are in the planning stages of a move from two Learning Management Systems, Blackboard and Webfuse, to Moodle which is an increasingly popular open source LMS. One of the questions asked in a recent planning meeting was “why aren’t all courses represented on the LMS?”. I’ve forgotten the answer now but it was to do with organizational issues and the nature of some of the courses being taught, however it raised a question about the applicability of an LMS to deliver all types/genres of courses. This paper titled “The Impact of Paradigm Development and Course Level on Performance in Technology-Mediated Learning Environments” has some interesting things to say about this subject.

They found that the less technical courses resulted in higher student grades and better perceptions of learning.(Hornik et al 2008)

The definition used here to explain technical courses is a course that has a heavy emphasis on mathematical analysis and those that were less technical had a qualitative posture. This is an interesting finding and is something else we can pursue with the indicators project. They found in respect to technology mediated learning that courses with high paradigm development such as Biology and Computer Science had better results (grades and withdrawal rates) than courses with low paradigm development such as Sociology and English. Another interesting suggestion they make in their conclusion is

Faculty must be available to provide prompt feedback to students. This is especially critical in courses where students need to master elementary concepts before the can move on to more advanced concepts.. (Hornik et al 2008)

This will be something we need to concentrate on in the Indicators research and possibly adds some weight to our choice of framework which is the seven principles.

Hornik, S., Li, Moskal, Dzuiban (2008). “The Impact of Paradigm Development and Course Level on Performance in Technology-Mediated Learning Environments.” Informing Science. The international journal of an emerging transdiscipline 11(11).

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