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Feedback of the User Community to eLearning at Nanyang Technological University , Singapore

Centre for Educational Development , Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Introduction

A two -week poll was conducted at Nanya g Technological University (NTU) Singapore in October 2003 to gather information on users’ satisfaction levels, needs, opinions on additional features as well as general feedback on the use of NTU’s eLearning initiative edveNTUre (see April edition for a full description of edveNTUre).

The purpose for gathering such data was to :-

1. Gather timely and relevant data for use in evaluation and planning processes;

2. Be accountable for the performance of the e-learning portal in the University, and,

3. Enhance the Centre ’s service to the NTU community by web-publishing the results.

To facilitate the data collection, the survey was administered through the edveNTUre course-site system by batch enrolling all staff and students (1,321 staff members and 21,223 students) into 2 separate course-sites. The surveys, which consisted of 22 questions each ( multiple choice and free response), were developed using the survey feature in the course-sites.

A portlet module that linked the users directly to the surveys was deployed on the home page of the e-learning portal ( my edveNTUre).

This module allowed for easy and direct access to the questionnaire, as well as providing daily live updates of the results. E- mails (with direct URL links to the surveys) were also sent to the NTU community to boost the response. An incentive for responding to the survey was a chance to win a ticket to a public educational-cum-entertainment event.

60 tickets (3 :1 f or student:staff ratio) for the winners were offered, and names of winners drawn daily were updated at the main edveNTUre course-site.

The core questionnaire sections were:

 Overall satisfaction levels with edveNTUre

 Usability of edveNTUre

 Desired features of edveNTUre

 Usage patterns

 Improvements/general feedback ( free r esponse)

Su mary of Results

A total of 141 staff (10.6 %) and 2771 (13.0%) students responded to this 2-w eek survey. It was observed that most of the responses were gathered in the initial days of the survey period ( more than two-thirds of the students answered in the first week, and more than half of them answered in the first 2 days). More than half of the staff members responded to an e-mail reminders that contained a direct hyperlink to the survey, but students were less responsive to the e-mail reminder.

The following observations were noted in this survey.

a. Overall satisfaction, usability and accessibility of edveNTUre

A high percentage (87% students, and 88% staff) indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the course site system in edveNTUre . High scores (88% students, 79% staff) were also observed for usability of the e-learning portal. The system also enjoyed high accessibility; 75% of students and 76% of staff indicated that they do not ha ve problems accessing edveNTUre.

87% of the students and 88% of the staff members look forward to using edveNTUre again in future semesters.

b. Desired features of edveNTUre

The staff and students hold similar opinions on the use of discussion boards and electronic portfolios. The most significant difference in the views held by the staff and students was in the area of recorded lectures. 93% of the students felt that an archive of recorded lectures in the course-site will be useful. This is in contrast to the 27 % of staff who share the same view.

c. Usage patterns

16% of the staff access edveNTUre on a daily basis, but about half (52 %) of the students access it as often. About half of the staff members spend an average of less than an hour in a typical week on edveNTUre. The students registered a higher usage level; half of them (51%) spend an average of at least 1-5 hours on edveNTUre each week.

d . Other observations

90% of the students use some form of instant messaging software (e .g . ICQ, Yahoo messenger, MSN ), and 1 in 6 students surveyed own a personal digital assistant. About half of the students own a notebook compu ter , and 1 in 9 staff owns a tablet personal computer .

Feedback from users, both academic staff and students on the usefulnes and usability has been generall y positive with regard to the use of edveNTUre. E-learning will aid the objective towards the goal of training the student community to be effective knowledge workers. When they join the workforce, it is hoped that their future employers from business and industry will find them effective in the creation , use, application and exploitation of knowledge in the digital economy.

Details of the survey results are available online

a . Student results:
http://www.ced.ntu.ed u .sg /reso urces/edv enture/surv ey 20 03 /studentsurv ey20 03 .htm

b. Staff results:
http://www.ced.ntu.edu.s g/res ources/ed venture/sur ve y2 00 3/staffsur v e y20 03.htm

Author: Chye Seng LEE; Daniel Tiong Hok TAN, Wee Sen GOH

07 October 2004

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