Online reflections : a constructivist tool?

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Halma, Lisa M.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2000
The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not online reflections are effective in facilitating student learning, as measured by achievement on unit exams and instructional planning as reported by the instructor. This study followed an altematingtreatments design. The achievement of 22 students randomly divided into two groups of 11 students each (Group 1 and Group 2) was compared. The first group of students followed an A-B-A-B design and the second group of students from the same Biology class followed a B-A-B-A design. A refers to the condition where students completed higher order online reflections and B refers to the lower order word search condition. The word search condition in this study serves as a proxy control condition in this study. Achievement on unit exams was determined and compared for each student under treatment condition A and treatment condition B. Correlations between the average length of students' responses, the number of reflections and word searches completed and students' final marks were conducted to identify the degree of association between these variables. 5-10 minutes of class time was provided to students to complete their online reflections or word searches. Analysis of variance was used to compare the effect completing online reflections and word searches had on student achievement as measured by unit-exams marks. No significant differences in achievement were found between the two conditions. The number and average length of online reflections were positively and significantly correlated with a student's final mark (Pearson correlation = 0.556, .Q = 0.007; 0.463, .Q = 0.03). 50% (10/20) of students felt that online reflections helped them study. 45% (9/20) felt that they clarified their understanding of scientific concepts. Students identified the following benefits of online reflections: it helps you remember, improves understanding and helps you think. The most common suggestion made by students for improvement was to change the questions with each lesson so that they were more relevant. The instructor felt the questions asked by students in the online reflections were important as they provided insight into what students know and don't know. As a result of online reflections the instructor now incorporates regular and in depth reviews into his teaching. According to the instructor online reflections helped him and his class meet 8 technology outcomes (i.e. Students will compose, revise and edit text). Future studies should control for the Hawthorne effect by changing the reflection questions on a daily basis and control for the different academic abilities of students.
vii, 74 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Science -- Study and teaching -- Alberta , Learning -- Psychology of