1 University of Girona (SPAIN)
2 University College of London (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 2052-2060
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Justification of the study: Reaching the European ambition of becoming a knowledge-based society necessarily involves changes in education, in general, and learning processes, in particular. Benefiting from the proliferation of Internet in all life areas, implementing the targets of Bolonia and the pertinence to the unique European Higher Education Area, the University of Girona (Spain) started a series of initiatives aimed to improve teaching-learning. It is in this framework where we describe, in the context of non-technical subjects in technical careers the use of ACME, a web based e-learning tool targeted towards continuous evaluation and problem-based learning in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

Statement of objective: In this contribution we evaluate users’ perception of ACME to facilitate the learning process and self-regulation of students in subjects related to Business Administration at the University of Girona, a relatively young middle-size HEI.

Methodology: ACME is a virtual e-learning environment with a modular design that allows the integration of new modules and functionalities to satisfy students’ and teachers’ needs. It has been used in our university since 1998 especially in technical studies such as Industrial Engineering and Computer Engineering. During the academic course 2012/2013 it has been used in non-technical subjects as Fundaments of Business Administration and Basics of Business Administration. To evaluate ACME a questionnaire with twenty questions organized into four main thematic areas i) platform characteristics, ii) platform flexibility, iii) platform support and iv) platform completeness, has been prepared. A regular 5-points Likert scale (1 - totally disagree, 5 - totally agree) is associated to most items. 154 students have been targeted as possible candidates for answering the survey voluntarily during the period April-May 2013.

Expected results: The results have not been fully obtained yet, since data collection through the proposed and previously described questionnaire is still ongoing. Intuitively we expect above fair evaluation for all items under analysis. Informal discussions with students, users of the system, gave initial signs of satisfaction. However, they remain anecdotic, since the empirical quantitative approach is the one aimed to capture perception. The results will further permit drawing implications for the different communities involved, developers, educators and the student community.

Value proposition and implications: The value proposition of our study consists in shading some light in the field of e-learning applications in environments for non-technical studies. The details of our results will facilitate useful insights for at least three communities. Developers will dispose of first-hand information regarding possible aspects to improve, while teachers obtain evidences on the adequacy and help facilitated by such initiative in their subject. Finally, student will be informed about the results of the evaluation and future students might benefit of an improved version of the solution. Other possible targets of interest might include (different from the subject) educators, study coordinators and university management. Relatively recent trends in universities towards service orientation necessarily involve perception analysis of the end user, in this particular organization, students.
e-learning, web tool, student, perception, Spain.