Part 2 of the lit review

This is the follow on from the previous post on student engagement

Online technologies are starting to make a serious impression on patterns of learning and teaching in higher education and learning management systems (LMS) are at the forefront of this technological movement (Coates, 2006). LMS are becoming ubiquitous at universities around the world, adding a virtual dimension to even the most traditional campus-based institution (Coates, James, & Baldwin, 2005). They are being used for presenting online or technology-enhanced classes and are not pedagogically neutral shells for course content as they influence pedagogy by presenting default formats designed to guide the instructor toward creating a course in a certain way (Lane, 2009). If LMS are affecting pedagogy, then they are obviously affecting student study habits and learning and therefore engagement (Coates et al., 2005).

Whilst LMS have the potential to influence student engagement, research into how they do so is largely in its infancy, and is often based on assumptions about campus learning environments (Coates, 2006). However, one important factor identified in the literature indicates that much or all of the interactions enabled by the LMS is asymmetric which means that students who require substantial instructor direction may have problems with an environment that demands a certain level of self discipline (Douglas & Alemanne, 2007). Importantly, whether online or otherwise, student motivation is a, or perhaps the, key factor influencing the level of engagement in a course.

Additionally there is research that suggests course level and discipline has an effect on student grades and withdrawal rates when the course is delivered by LMS (Hornik, Saunders, Li, Moskal, & Dzuiban, 2008). This would indicate that not all courses are equal when considering their applicability to LMS delivery. High paradigm courses such as physics and chemistry demonstrate higher grades and lower withdrawal rates than low paradigm courses like social sciences and literature (Hornik et al., 2008). Arguably, this may indicate lower levels of student engagement for low paradigm courses than for high paradigm courses. The same research suggests that course level has an influence on student grades and satisfaction delivered by an LMS. Introductory courses, such as first years courses, were compared to advanced level courses; second and third year; and demonstrated different levels of student satisfaction and grades, especially when linked to the course’s level of paradigm development (Hornik et al., 2008).

Bulger, M. E., Mayer, R. E., Almeroth, K. C., & Blau, S. D. (2008). Measuring Learner Engagement in Computer-Equipped College Classrooms. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 17(2), 129-143.

Chen, P.-S. D., Gonyea, R., & Kuh, G. (2008). Learning at a distance [Electronic Version]. Journal of online education, 4. Retrieved October 2009, from

Coates, H. (2006). Student Engagement in Campus-based and Online Education. Retrieved 23rd October 2009, from

Coates, H. (2007). A model of online and general campus-based student engagement. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 32(2), 121-141.

Coates, H., James, R., & Baldwin, G. (2005). A critical examination of the effects of learning management systems on university teaching and learning. Tertiary education and management, 11(2005), 19-36.

Douglas, I., & Alemanne, N. D. (2007). Measuring Student Participation and Effort. Paper presented at the International Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age, Algarve, Portugal.

Hornik, S., Saunders, C. S., Li, Y., Moskal, P. D., & Dzuiban, C. D. (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).

Krause, K.-L. (2005, 21-22 September 2005.). Understanding and promoting student engagement in university learning communities. Paper presented at the Sharing Scholarship in Learning and Teaching: Engaging Students, James Cook University, Townsville.

Krause, K.-L., & Coates, H. (2008). Students’ engagement in first-year university. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(5), 493 – 505.

Kuh, G. D. (2001). Assessing What Really Matters to Student Learning. Inside the national survey of student engagement. [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 22nd October 2009, from,%202001).pdf

Lane, L. M. (2009). Insidious Pedagogy: How course management systems affect teaching [Electronic Version], 14, from

Stovall, I. (2003). Engagement and Online Learning [Electronic Version]. UIS Community of Practice for E-Learning. Retrieved October 2009, from


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