Les M. Lunce
CECS 5610, Spring 2001
Assignment 2- Article Critique


Ruffini, Michael F. "The impact of undergraduate preservice teachers' use of hypermedia
            to review lecture notes". Journal of Research on Computing in Education v. 31
            no3 (Spring 1999) p. 292-304.

Literature Review: The literature review is organized into sections on "Note Taking", "Structuring Hypermedia for Learning" and "Designing Hypermedia for Instruction". The author cites 11 previous studies in these three areas, but concludes that the current literature reveals a need for further research on note-taking and computer assisted instruction using hypermedia courseware.

Principle: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the achievements of undergraduate college students who used hypermedia to review lecture notes, compared to students who used traditional notes.
Design: This study incorporates a quasi-experimental design, utilizing a static group comparison.
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Independent Variables: The experimental group used hypermedia for review of lecture note and class materials.
Dependent Variables: The dependent variables measured were achievement test scores, GPA's and students' attitudes towards using hypermedia as opposed to traditional methods of note-taking and review.
Procedure: The interval of the study was seven weeks. Eight undergraduate classes, each consisting of approximately 25 students, were selected at random. Four instructors were randomly selected to teach the eight classes. Two instructors were assigned to teach the treatment groups while the other two were assigned to teach the control groups. The same syllabus was used for both groups. Students in the treatment group used hypermedia software to review the instructor's notes and to take lecture notes. Students in the control group used traditional means for note taking and reviewing lecture materials. Following the treatment period, an instructor-developed achievement test was administered to both the treatment and control groups. The treatment group also received a survey to assess attitudes towards using hypermedia to study lecture notes.
Factors Jeopardizing Internal Validity: History, experimental mortality, selection maturation interaction, unequal distribution of male and female students, ethnic makeup of both control and treatment groups was predominantly white, age range of students was very narrow.
Factors Jeopardizing External Validity: Only junior-level classes were selected for the study. The study was conducted in one department at one university.
Statistical Procedures: Analysis of covariance was used to compare group means on achievement test scores for both the control and treatment groups. A Cronbach's reliability test was used to confirm the achievement test's reliability. A one-sample t-test was used to compare the mean attitudes toward hypermedia among members of the treatment group.
Results: Achievement test scores for the control group fell in the range of 57-93. Scores for the treatment group fell in the range 70-97. An analysis of covariance revealed a significant difference in test scores between the control and the treatment groups. The Likert-based survey administered to the treatment group to evaluate attitudes toward the use of hypermedia yielded a positive response of 72%.
Comments: The study indicated that hypermedia can be an effective tool in reviewing lecture notes to improve test performance. Observations indicated that, while using hypermedia to review lecture notes, students were better able to stay focused and did not become board or distracted. Most students agreed that while they would like to see hypermedia software used in other classes, hypermedia should not replace the instructor. The author concludes by proposing further research and suggest ways to expand the current study.

Design Improvements: Repeat the experiment with the following modifications:

  • Select classes from a variety of disciplines as well as classifications.
  • Conduct the experiment at multiple universities concurrently.
  • Try to obtain a more diverse population, i.e., more minority students, non traditional students and students with disabilities.
  • Use high school classes in a variety of subject areas.
02-12-2001 : Les M. Lunce