First Advisor

Nancy Perrin

Term of Graduation

Winter 1998

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Educational technology, Class size, Learning, Psychology of, College students--Rating of



Physical Description

1 online resource (87 pages)


Rising enrollments and budget restrictions are resulting in larger class sizes which can lead to difficulties with learning. Computer technology has been suggested as a tool that may help overcome some of these difficulties. Research on outcomes is important to find ways that technology may be used by instructors to help students with information processing (Gagne & Driscoll, 1988), and to see if the financial commitment required for integrating educational technology is warranted.

The purpose of the present study was to examine the academic achievement and computer attitudes of students in courses taught with traditional presentations and technology-enhanced presentations taught with two different technology strategies. Regarding learning, Technology Strategy 1 (TS-1) was expected to enhance academic achievement, because it included the use of at least three of the following four factors of visual aids which are suggested by information processing theory: (a) color background, (b) contrasting color title or bullets, (c) bulleted lists, and (d) build effects. Regarding computer technology, Technology Strategy 2 (TS-2) was expected to enhance computer attitudes, because it included the use of features which increased the apparentness of technology use in presentations: (a) use of active buttons to link to other websites, (b) display of top menu bars and side scroll bars, and ( c) presentation on a course website accessible outside of class.

The current study was conducted as a secondary data analysis on a larger project operating on a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education Fund for Improvement in Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). Five hundred sixty-one university students enrolled in control and experimental sections of three courses (sociology, psychology, and biology) participated in the study. Data was collected on students' academic achievement and computer attitudes.

Data was analyzed using MANOVA models. For academic achievement, results indicated a significant interaction of technology-enhanced vs. traditional presentations by technology strategy. Post-hoc t-tests indicated that in TS-1 courses students taught with technology-enhanced presentations had lower course grades than students taught with traditional presentations, for the psychology course only. No effect was found on computer attitudes. Explanations for this unexpected finding are discussed, as are limitations of the research.


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