Archive for Research
The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) chose to implement a virtual classroom due to the increase of fully online courses being offered and the need to accommodate different types of courses through an online medium. Many of the departments that were asked to put courses fully online were concerned about the lack of interaction and student engagement tools available. Southern Miss decided to investigate the feasibility of adding a tool to our current Learning Management System, Blackboard, that would increase opportunities for student-to-instructor and student-to-student interaction. After auditioning applications from several different companies, Southern Miss decided that Wimba Classroom was the best fit for the goals and objectives it had set out to achieve.
Southern Miss began implementation of Wimba Classroom in spring 2007 with a pilot group of 15 faculty across multiple disciplines. The University entered full implementation in summer 2007.
To evaluate the implementation of Wimba Classroom, instructor and student perspectives, and the impact on student engagement and learning outcomes, two survey instruments were developed. A survey instrument was created to administer to instructors and a separate survey instrument was created to administer to students. The survey instruments were sent to the instructors who used Wimba Classroom for their courses. The instructors were asked to distribute the student survey to the students in their course. The surveys were collected and the data was analyzed.
Results to be discussed in the session include items such as: (1) all the instructors and more than half of the students had used collaboration software prior to using Wimba Classroom, (2) students reported that they found learning to use Wimba Classroom easier than did their instructors, and (3) instructors reported using application sharing more than twice as much as their students.
We are currently revising the instruments and preparing to administer the questionnaires to multiple institutions, which use Wimba classroom. Data collected will be compared to see if findings are consistent across multiple institutions and provide further evidence for the generalizability of these findings. The data collected in the evaluation of the pilot are outlined in the following presentation.