Learning Information Systems Concepts

L10 5

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  • Title: Learning Information Systems Concepts: A Comparison of Student Perceptions in a Web-based Setting versus a Traditional Classroom Setting
  • Author(s): James M. Henson, Myron Hatcher, Patricia LaRosa
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review
  • Keywords: Web Based, Web Supported, Case Study, Group Project, Information Systems Concepts
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 5
  • Year: 2010
  • ISSN: 1447-9494 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9540 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i05/47032
  • Citation: Henson, James M., Myron Hatcher, and Patricia LaRosa. 2010. "Learning Information Systems Concepts: A Comparison of Student Perceptions in a Web-based Setting versus a Traditional Classroom Setting." The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review 17 (5): 399-406. doi:10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i05/47032.
  • Extent: 8 pages


As greater numbers of online courses are being offered, it is becoming increasingly important to determine the best manner of presenting course material. This is especially true in courses that have fairly high technical content such as the undergraduate management information systems course in a school of business. In trying to determine the best teaching method, instructors need to have some way to compare different treatments. Often that is difficult. However, if a situation arises where one can minimize intervening factors, it is possible to obtain a fairly clean comparison of two contrasting delivery methods. Conclusions might then be drawn about the effectiveness of one method when compared to another. In this situation there were four sections of the same management information systems course taught in the same semester by two different faculty members. The course content and the delivery methods were very similar in all respects. Two of the sections were completely online with the exception of an in-person final exam. The other two sections, which were Web-enhanced, were presented in a traditional classroom setting; they also included an in-person final exam. This resulted in two groups based on two different delivery methods. An online survey instrument was developed to ascertain user attitudes and opinions of the delivery methods to evaluate differences between the two groups due to the use of two contrasting instructional treatments. The survey questions are included in Appendix A. Since the data were ordinal, a normal distribution could not be assumed. The nonparametric Mann-Whitney test was employed to analyze the data collected for the two treatments. The results of this analysis appeared to indicate that both treatments help students learn basic information systems concepts. In each case the students were pleased with the structure, design, and delivery of the course. Both groups were concerned with the issue of cheating or plagiarism. There was very little difference between the two treatments in terms of actual effectiveness in learning the information systems concepts. Descriptive statistics appeared to favor the online sections, but more data are required before any significance can be attached to this finding. An examination of frequency distributions appeared to support this finding as well, but that is also tempered with the recommendation for the collection of additional data.