CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Interactive Features for an HTML Tutorial in a Distance Learning Program

Date of Award

1996

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Jacques Levin

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

John Kingsbury

Abstract

Nova Southeastern University (NSU) has been delivering on-line courses to students through computer-mediated communications (CMC) since 1983. Like many institutions of higher education, NSU began investigating the use of the World Wide Web for distance education over the Internet. A research group was formed in 1993 to study Web tools, courseware development tools and different strategies for delivering on-line instruction, course management, and conferencing. One of the goals of the courseware development team, a supporting activity to the research group, was to develop on-line instruction and resources on the hypertext markup language (HTML) that could be used on-line by students in preparation of research activities on the Web. This study contributed to the research group by examining past research on learner control in computer aided instruction as it was applied in traditional settings and testing learner control designs in HTML tutorials. Based on a review of literature, it was hypothesized that standard learner control techniques would help improve student-CAI interaction but not significantly improve student-teacher interaction without additional support. HTML/CGI was thought to help make this possible. An experimental design was established that incorporated three treatments. The first treatment (control) was an online tutorial which used branching typical of hypertext documents on the Internet. The second treatment was the same tutorial but with enhancements to include content and context control commonly used in learner control strategies. The third treatment used CGI support to help improve communications between student and teacher. Subjects completed pretests, posttests, and surveys. Paired two-sample for means t-tests were conducted to investigate whether each on-line tutorial, having included some degree of learner control, contributed significantly to learning. It was found that all three versions of the tutorials provided significant learning. MANOV A was used to determine which of these tutorial designs contributed significantly to learning and attitudes and this was a comparison of designs with each other. It was found that there was no significant differences between the tutorial designs. Group 3 which had design features intended to enhance student-teacher interaction did not show greater significant effects on student achievement and attitudes as had been hypothesized.

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