The purpose of this paper is to compare the use of WebCT in support of online and blended learning in the Faculty of Architecture of a Hong Kong university.
Paper questionnaires are used to collect students' experiences, perceptions and attitudes towards the online course they have undertaken. Focus group interviews are conducted with two groups of students at the end of the semester. In addition, both formal and informal interviews are conducted with the instructor to understand his perceptions and perspectives.
In general, students prefer to have course management systems (CMS) as a supplement to face‐to‐face lectures rather than as its replacement. They perceive WebCT as mainly a platform for downloading materials and submitting assignments rather than a platform for teaching and learning. Learning fully online is perceived as self‐learning. The traditional lecture is considered more effective and efficient by many students to grasp concepts and principles.
This is an exploratory study at a Hong Kong university. However, it provides initial evidence to shed light on issues concerning the use of CMS in support of online and blended learning.
In order to ensure a more engaging and rewarding online learning experience, teacher's online presence should be strengthened. Other than teacher presence, the cognitive presence could be fostered through engineering the student‐to‐student interaction in co‐located settings.
The paper usefully demonstrates how the blended mode of learning that combines face‐to‐face and online learning has become increasingly popular, while the courses conducted entirely online are comparatively rare at universities in Hong Kong.
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