Measuring Learner Engagement in Computer-Equipped College Classrooms

Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.129-143, April 2008

23 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2011

See all articles by Monica E. Bulger

Monica E. Bulger

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Richard E. Mayer

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Kevin C. Almeroth

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Sheridan D. Blau

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Date Written: April 2008

Abstract

Although engagement and learning seem linked, quantitatively measuring this relationship is challenging. New technologies offer a window into studying the interactions among classroom activity, student engagement, and positive learning outcomes in computer-equipped classrooms. A Classroom Behavioral Analysis System (CBAS) was developed to measure student engagement in a college writing class, and to test the hypothesis that an interactive lesson would increase student engagement levels in a computer-equipped classroom. Student computer-based behaviors (off-task and on-task Internet visits) were compared during a traditional, lecture-based lesson (no-simulation condition) and an interactive simulation-based lesson (simulation condition). The dependent variable was student engagement as measured by the number of off-task and on-task Internet activities during the lesson. Off-task Internet activities were operationalized as website visits that were not part of the classroom activity; on-task Internet activities included websites that related to the assigned class activity. CBAS recorded all student computer actions during the observed instructional periods. Students attending a simulation-based lesson performed more on-task Internet actions, and significantly fewer off-task Internet actions than did students attending a lecture-based lesson. These findings support the hypothesis that interactive lessons increase student engagement levels in computer-equipped classrooms, and demonstrate that CBAS is a promising tool for studying student engagement.

Suggested Citation

Bulger, Monica E. and Mayer, Richard E. and Almeroth, Kevin C. and Blau, Sheridan D., Measuring Learner Engagement in Computer-Equipped College Classrooms (April 2008). Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.129-143, April 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1859239

Monica E. Bulger (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Richard E. Mayer

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

South Hall 5504
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Kevin C. Almeroth

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

South Hall 5504
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Sheridan D. Blau

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

South Hall 5504
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

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