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Students’ achievement in an online course on technical writing and communication skills

Ayman Yasin (Coordination Unit for Service Courses, Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Amman, Jordan)
Luae Al-Tarawneh (Communication Engineering Department, Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Amman, Jordan)
Fadia El-Issa (Communication Engineering Department, Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Amman, Jordan)
Abdallah Al-Zoubi (Communication Engineering Department, Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Amman, Jordan)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Article publication date: 15 September 2022

Issue publication date: 27 October 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate students’ satisfaction, self-efficacy and perceived competencies in a ‘technical writing and communication skills’ course after the switch of teaching the course from face to face to fully online during and after COVID-19. The study also measured the Achievement of Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology course learning outcomes (CLOs).

Design/methodology/approach

A descriptive cross-sectional survey design approach was adopted in this study. Students were asked to respond to an online survey after completion of the course to measure the target parameters. The data of 250 respondents, analyzed with IBM SPSS Statistics 28, show high scores on all constructs.

Findings

Statistically significant differences among gender, field of study, grade point average (GPA) level, type of school attended and attainment of English proficiency certificate were detected for students in terms of their baseline perceived competencies, achievement of CLOs and self-efficacy scores. In addition, gender, field of study, GPA and holding an international English proficiency certificate had statistically significant effect, whereas the academic level and type of school were insignificant.

Research limitations/implications

First, the data had been collected through survey only. A limitation of this method is that there could be survey fraud. Second, as some respondents found the survey long, their responses might have been less reliable. Moreover, as the survey was entirely conducted online, this may have caused limited sampling, because some respondents are less likely to have internet access/disconnection and respond to online surveys. Furthermore, this research had focused on studying the impact of an online course on university students’ achievement in a Jordanian university, this limits the generalizability of the result to students of other levels and classes, or ones studying in other universities or living in different countries.

Practical implications

Because of its impact on effective teaching and achievement, educators need to pay much attention to self-efficacy when designing new curricula for different environmental contexts. Furthermore, it is apparent that some courses, such as “technical writing” can be taught fully online without affecting students’ performance and achievement. Because educators always look for ways that make teaching effective, they may need to consider online platforms for teaching specific courses, hence save time, effort and resources.

Originality/value

A course on technical writing and communication skills offered to undergraduate engineering and information technology students at Princess Sumaya University for Technology was switched from face to face to fully online modality during the COVID-19 pandemic in the period 2020–2021. The effect of such massive and sudden transformation on students’ achievement and satisfaction called for immediate scrutiny of the prospect and expectancy of online learning.

Keywords

Citation

Yasin, A., Al-Tarawneh, L., El-Issa, F. and Al-Zoubi, A. (2022), "Students’ achievement in an online course on technical writing and communication skills", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 526-543. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-05-2022-0057

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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