Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Department of Learning, Technology and Leadership Education

Abstract

Several works in the academic literature address the benefits of discussion-based formative evaluation for improving the learning environment in higher education courses. However, even one of the most widely used methods for such formative evaluation, the small group instructional diagnosis, has a few challenges and is still utilized far less than student ratings questionnaires. The present study focused on one undergraduate course in the James Madison University College of Education that promotes formative evaluation as an integral part of instructional design. The purpose of this study was to examine participants’ perception about the worth and usability of an online feedback system intended to address some of the disadvantages of small group instructional diagnosis. A prototype of the feedback system was designed using Nicenet, an open-source learning management system, and the feedback system was piloted with one instructor and twenty students from a human resource development course. The researcher used quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data through an online survey, an online discussion board, and post-pilot interviews. The research results suggest that participants found the feedback system to be valuable in theory, but inconvenient in its current design. Participants offered suggestions for improving the feedback system including integration with Blackboard. Results indicate that systems promoting continuous collaborative feedback should be efficient and user-friendly if they are to be successfully utilized.

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