The role of cognitive schemas in a Web-based student evaluation of teaching system: Usability issues of design and implementation
George Marcus Turner, The University of Texas at Austin, United States
The University of Texas at Austin . Awarded
With the increase in the use of web-based student evaluations of teaching (SETs) by institutions of higher education, the importance of understanding the usability of such web-based systems has increased. Such understanding is needed to ensure that web-based SETs produce the best information possible. By using schema theory from cognitive psychology as a backdrop, this study seeks to identify the impact that the method of response and grouping of items displayed per page have on the usability of web-based SETs. Issues of user satisfaction, error rate, and time on task are examined. Participants were divided into one of six similarity groups based on the degree to which participant expectation and the design of the web-based SET system matched. Analyzing data from 791 university students at a large southern university, it was determined that the use of a radio-button response format with SET items grouped by area produces the best results from a usability perspective. The use of drop-down boxes and text boxes is discouraged as a response format. Limitations of this study and suggested directions for future research are discussed.
Turner, G.M. The role of cognitive schemas in a Web-based student evaluation of teaching system: Usability issues of design and implementation. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Texas at Austin.
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