Effects of Information Distributions Strategies on Student Performance in a CMS


This is one of those papers where I find myself thinking “freakin’ amazing, I can’t believe it” (yes, I really think like that) but by the end I’ve been reduced to, “ok, but a sample of 50 students? And all of them graduate students of education from 3 courses?” I’m not saying that invalidates the results, and the paper itself actually seems well written. But if you do buy into its arguments, then this SHOULD be sending shockwaves (at least shivers) through ed tech departments (and the people who fund them) across the world. Why? Because it throws into serious doubt the value of course management systems when used (predominantly, as other studies, like Morgan’s, have shown) as really expensive web filing or content management systems in support of face to face courses. This doesn’t necessarily sound the death knell for CMS; as the study concludes, instead one could draw the conclusion that if you want to see positive effects on pedagogy by using a CMS then use them, well, pedagogically, not as a glorified filing cabinet. But still, it does start to put to the test the conventional wisdom that simply giving people access to reading materials ahead of time will inevitably increase their learning. (First seen in Distance Educator.) – SWL