Making IT Count: Measuring Student Engagement with Online Resources at the Open University

Robson, James and Lloyd, Mair (2019). Making IT Count: Measuring Student Engagement with Online Resources at the Open University. In: Natoli, Bartolo and Hunt, Steven eds. Teaching Classics with Technology. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 39–52.



This chapter looks at student interaction with the suite of online, interactive resources developed for the Open University module, Classical Latin: The Language of Ancient Rome. The data collected allowed the researchers (presented in a series of tables and graphs) not only to map the changing patterns of use of the interactive resources week by week as the student cohort progressed through the module, but also to judge differing levels of engagement with technology according to factors such as the students’ age and sex. The quantitative data captured in the study raise important questions about the OU’s interactive resources in particular, but importantly, too, about students’ use of technology in general, such as why some resources are used more than others and how students can be encouraged to engage with technology more consistently. Qualitative data captured by the researchers in follow-on student surveys (also presented and analysed in this chapter) go some of the way to answering these questions, while simultaneously providing useful insights into how the resources were regarded by learners. Throughout the chapter the authors also look to provide suggestions (as well as raise questions) as to how resources might be presented more effectively and be made more meaningful to student users.
A further, important aim of this chapter is methodological, i.e. to demonstrate the power and possibilities of using data to examine students’ use of technology. The purpose of showing the potential of such investigations is to help to inform and direct the development of technology for ancient language learning in the future by outlining methodology that instructors and researchers might use and build on to evaluate their own online tools.

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