University of Wisconsin System 2021 Study

University of Wisconsin System 2021 Study

In examining the student experience, there were four primary findings: 1.) Students are generally satisfied with their experience with the DLE; 2.) Students use the DLE often for their learning tasks and feel that the majority of tasks are easy for them to perform; 3.) Students find navigation generally easy to do, but there are some challenges; and, 4.) Students reported challenges with some areas, although not necessarily with high-demand functions (see research questions on p. 10).  The report summarizes those primary findings by describing students’ attitudes and behaviors from their user experience in the DLE as captured in the data collection.  Overall, students generally have a positive experience within the DLE.

UWSA DLE UX STUDY | K E Y   F I N D I N G S  

  1. Students are generally satisfied with their experience with the DLE.

Students report that the DLE is easy to access and to use, and they perceive that Canvas is a useful system.  They feel that they will continue to use it as it is available in the future and believe instructors should use it in the future.  Most students are confident in their use and satisfied using Canvas.  Moreover, students believe Canvas helps organize their learning. 

  1. Students use the DLE often for their learning tasks and feel that the majority of tasks are easy for them to perform.

The student experience in using the DLE consists of learning activities such as finding course information, staying on task, managing their time, submitting and taking assessments, tracking performance and getting feedback on assessments, and interacting in threaded discussions.  Most students find the DLE beneficial and easy to use.  However, students report that the way in which the instructor utilizes it can determine not only the success of their use but also the ease in which students can experience the course site.  For example, although it is reported that the general functionality to find information is easy, students reported some difficulty with finding course materials and assignments which appears to do with how the course is organized and less with the functionality of the DLE.  Same sentiment in staying on task and managing their time through the calendar, to-do list, and dashboard.  While students' ability to take and submit assessments is done often and without difficulty, they also enjoy the confetti functionality when they turn in their work.  With noted benefits of the grades and feedback tools, the students recommend a few items be improved in functionality.  Discussions were on the lower end of functions frequently used yet were still above average and easy to use.

  1. Students find navigation generally easy to do, but there are some challenges.

Students navigate the DLE by: viewing their dashboard, returning to the course home page, accessing and navigating modules, navigating course websites, finding the page with the information they need, navigating the template used for their course, finding their way back to another page, clicking back out of a page, finding their list of their course sites, working with the system interface for their course, and turning the page or moving between pages.

While half of these tasks were easy to perform, half were below average in ease of use.  Students had less ease in turning or moving between pages, clicking back out of a page, working with the system interface, finding one’s way back to a page, and navigating the template.  Some of these challenges were attributed to the course organization of the faculty or instructor.  Students also reported the most difficult areas were following breadcrumbs or navigation shortcuts, finding the page with the information they needed, and clicking through to deeper pages and topics.  Students discussed getting trapped in deeper pages.

  1. Students reported challenges with some areas, although not necessarily with high-demand functions.

Students reported challenges in their experience with groups, accessibility and usability, integration of third-party tools (e.g., BB Collaborate), media and file management, mobile application, and notifications.  While there were some benefits, students noted the challenges they experienced in these areas.   Students felt that groups were the most difficult, however, they still expressed an interest in working in groups.  They expressed difficulty viewing closed captioning and with the usability of the color and text within the websites.  Students also noted challenges within the integrations of some of the web meeting tools.  Media and file management was an issue and was exacerbated by mobile devices.  Finally, notifications, while appreciated, also came along with challenges.

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The Digital Learning Environment Experiences: A University of Wisconsin System Study

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