A usability comparison of PDA-based quizzes and paper-and-pencil quizzes Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2801pk495

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  • In the last few years, many schools and universities have incorporated personal digital assistants (PDAs) into their teaching curricula, in an attempt to enhance students' learning experience and reduce instructors' workload. One of the most common uses of PDAs in the classroom is as a test administrator. This study compared the usability effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction of a PDA-based quiz application to that of standard paper-and-pencil quizzes in a university course in order to determine whether it was advisable to invest time and money in PDA-based testing. The effects of computer anxiety, age, gender, and ethnicity on usability were also evaluated, to ascertain that these factors do not discriminate against individuals taking PDA-based tests. Five quizzes were administered to students participating in an engineering introductory course. Of these, students took two PDA-based quizzes and three paper-and-pencil quizzes. One PDA-based quiz and one paper-and-pencil quiz were compared in terms of their effectiveness, measured as students' quiz scores and through a mental workload questionnaire; their efficiency, which was the time it took students to complete each quiz; and their satisfaction, evaluated using a subjective user satisfaction questionnaire. Computer anxiety was also measured, using an additional questionnaire. It was hypothesized that the PDA-based quiz would be more effective and efficient than the paper-and-pencil quiz and that students' satisfaction with the PDA-based quiz would be greater. The study showed the PDA-based quiz to be more efficient, that is, students completed it in less time than they needed to complete the paper-and-pencil quiz. No differences in effectiveness and satisfaction were found between the two quiz types. It was also hypothesized that for PDA-based quizzes, as computer anxiety increased, effectiveness and satisfaction would decrease; for paper-and-pencil quizzes there would be no relationship between computer anxiety and effectiveness and no relationship between computer anxiety and satisfaction. Findings showed an increase in quiz score (increase in effectiveness) and an increase in mental workload (decrease in effectiveness) as computer anxiety increased for both quiz types. No relationship was found between computer anxiety and satisfaction for either paper-and-pencil or PDA-based quizzes. The final hypothesis suggested that user satisfaction would be positively correlated with effectiveness (quiz score and mental workload) for both PDA-based and paper-and-pencil quizzes. No relationship was found between quiz score and satisfaction for either quiz type. User satisfaction was positively correlated with mental workload, regardless of quiz type. The usability comparison of paper-and-pencil and PDA-based quizzes found the latter to be equal, if not superior, to the former. The effort students put into taking the quiz was the same, regardless of administration method, and scores were not affected. In addition, different demographic groups performed almost equally well in both quiz types (white students' PDA-based quiz scores were slightly lower than those of the other ethnic groups). Computer anxiety was not affected by the quiz type. For these reasons, as well as other advantages to both students (e.g. real-time scoring) and teachers (e.g. spending less time on grading), PDAs are an attractive test administration option for schools and universities.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-07-09T16:46:21Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 SegallNoa2003.pdf: 6684562 bytes, checksum: a29d7cb03ff406f1929e3617624ec01f (MD5)
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