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Learning Technology Research

The UW-Whitewater Learning Technology Center (LTC) frequently conducts research on issues related to learning technology and student success. LTC research generally follows two tracks: (1) evaluating specific learning technologies, and (2) examining potential predictors of student success in technology-mediated environments. More recently, the LTC has begun exploring learning analytics as well.

Recently, LTC research on online active learning, online learning climate, and student engagement was published in the journal “Interactive Learning Environments.”

If you are interested in collaborating with the LTC on research relating to learning technologies and student success, please contact the LTC (

To gather information from instructors to inform future decisions around Learning Technology Center (LTC) services, support, and future events.

What Did We Do?
The LTC administered an online survey in April 2016 to UWW instructors (653) who were teaching during the Spring 2016 semester. Survey questions were a mix of close and open-ended items focusing on satisfaction with services and support, as well as issues in teaching and needs related to learning technology. 109 instructors (17%) participated in the survey.

What Did We Find?
Almost all (91%) instructors who participated in the survey were satisfied with the Learning Technology Center. Instructors identified a number of issues they encountered in their teaching. Time (e.g., increased demands and workload creating the lack of time to reflect and prepare for teaching), student engagement and getting them to dig deeper past the bare minimum, student responsibility and accountability, and technology reliance and distractions were the all perceived as challenges to teaching and learning. Instructors were presented with a number of emerging learning technologies and pedagogies and were asked to rate their interest. The most highly rated items were:
Active learning strategies for technology-enhanced, blended, and online courses;
Shifting to deeper learning approaches;
Alternative course designs (e.g., competency-based or self-paced online); and
Collaboration technologies for small group work.

Five major themes emerged that focused on motivations and limitations around participation related to attending LTC programming: lifting the constraints of current faculty roles, having relevant topics, utilizing flexible structures, providing incentives, and marketing events appropriately.

The LTC will use this data to plan events, resources, and emerging technology exploration projects during the 2016-2017 academic year.

To better understand the current status of online learning at UWW, the UWW LTC requested online course grade and completion data from the UWW Registrar’s Office (Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, and Spring 2016 semesters). The hope was to find some predictors of UWW student successful online course completion that could be used to inform online teaching and learning best practices.

What did we do?
Student course completion/success was defined in terms of successful completion (a grade of “C” or higher, or “Satisfactory” status). We ran statistical analyses on each semester to identify any predictive value in a number of variables (including race, sex, first generation student status, age, and GPA) on student success/completion.

What did we find?
Higher cumulative grade point average (GPA) was the only item found that positively predicted passing online courses in every semester. No variable negatively predicted passing online courses in every semester was found. UWW students with higher cumulative GPAs appear to be more likely to successfully complete online courses.

In order to gain understanding of how UWW students perceive the learning experience in online courses at UWW, the UWW LTC surveyed students taking online courses in the Fall 2016 semester. The purpose was to identify some student demographic and affective factors that might predict how much UWW students perceived learning in online courses.

What did we do?
The LTC administered an online survey to UWW students currently enrolled in online courses that included a number of demographic items (e.g., age, race), academic items (e.g., first-generation status, technology barriers), and affective items (e.g., learner empowerment, communication satisfaction). 494 students completed the survey.

What did we find?
Student motivation toward the specific course, a perception of being able to impact/influence the direction of the course, and the perceived meaningfulness of the course all appeared positively related to students’ perceptions of learning in the course. Student motivation and perceived meaningfulness of the course also appeared related to each other.

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