Development and evaluation of a computer systems and architecture web-based instruction course at Suratthani Rajabhat University, Thailand

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Whether driven by demands from learners for the convenience of taking courses at any time from any place, or as an attempt to make better use of available staff resources, there is a growing world trend in higher education to shift from traditional to web-based courses. This dissertation investigates the impact and viability of a Computer Systems and Architecture (CSA) web-based instruction (WBI) course in a rural university in Thailand. It comes at a time, following the economic crisis of October 1997, when authorities see the need more than ever for Thailand to maintain a leading role in the global information- based society. The total first year CSA cohort of 60 students in the Science and Technology Faculty at the Suratthani Rajabhat University was divided equally into two groups, based on the results of a computer general knowledge test administered at the beginning of the course. The first group was taught using a traditional classroom approach, while the other had four of the ten units in the subject taught using web-based technology. Both groups had the same instructor and were presented with the same course content, the only differences being in the method of accessing the instructor and the instructional media in the four WBI topics. Learner performances in the two groups were compared through multiple-choice pre- and post-tests. After the course, a five-point Likert scale questionnaire was applied to determine students’ satisfaction with using WBI; this information was supplemented by interviews with some of the students one year after completion of the course. T-tests on matched-pair samples showed significant differences in the mean gain difference results between the two groups in the four WBI units. However, there were no significant differences between the two groups in the final exam and final course grades. A gender-based analysis of the results was also carried out. The overall gain differences within the WBI group showed no significant differences except in one of the four topics, for which the females achieved significantly better results than the males. Student attitudes to web-based instruction were at a satisfactory or higher level with respect to the student manual, course content, presentation, exercises, tests and the learning process. Valuable feedback was also obtained about ways to design more effective WBI material for the course. Overall, the study showed that WBI merits pursuing as a delivery method for the CSA subject within SRU, and perhaps more generally through the Rajabhat University system.
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