DOOLAN and BARKER, 2005. Evaluation of Computing Students Performance using Group Based Learning Online and Offline. IN: Proceedings of the 9th CAA Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University
The context of this research relates to work started over four years ago to investigate the importance of on-line learning in Higher Education (HE). This study reports on our most recent work undertaken at the University of Hertfordshire over a one-year period related to the evaluation of group working assignments. One hundred and eleven second year students participating in a combined studies course took part in this study. The main motivation for this research was to investigate the potential of a Managed Learning Environment to support assessment of collaborative working and collaborative learning. The study described in this research therefore, involved the use of a Managed Learning Environment to set up, manage and support student group working and assessments. The study was a comparison between performance on assessments and attitude in matched group activities performed by learners online and offline. A range of quantitative and qualitative methods were used to investigate student performance and attitude in this study. The results of the quantitative analysis on mean assessment scores demonstrated that learners performed better online than offline (p<0.001) in matched assessments. Correlation analysis showed that individual learners in groups performing well online also performed equally well offline (p<0.001) and groups performing well in online environments also performed well in offline environments (p<0.02). An analysis of student logbooks using an expert rater showed that the number of positive comments reported by students was similar for online and offline group working. However, there was some evidence that some students were more negative in their comments of the online learning experience, preferring offline group work. Details of the qualitative ratings and analysis of individual student logbooks is reported in the paper.