Use of Learning Management System: A University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Classroom Experience

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1 Use of Learning Management System: A University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Classroom Experience Lynie B. Dimasuay Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics, UPLB, College, Laguna or Beverly R. Pabro Interactive Learning Center UPLB, College, Laguna Abstract- Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (MOODLE) is a learning management system or a content management system that is starting to be popularized nowadays. In the Philippines, majority of higher education institutions including University of the Philippines Los Baños use MOODLE in their teaching. To determine the popularity of MOODLE and to determine if it can help a student s performance, a survey was conducted in two mathematics courses in UPLB: Seventy seven (77) respondents from College Algebra (Math 11) and twenty three (23) respondents from Introduction to Probability Theory (Math 181). Questions in the survey form were rated from one to five, with five being the highest. Results showed that MOODLE is used only by limited faculty and majority of them are under the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). In addition, students from both courses perceived that MOODLE can help them in their learning progress with a weighted mean average of 3.75 and 3.82 for Math 11 and Math 181, respectively. Survey also showed that MOODLE can augment face- to-face learning between teacher and student with a weighted mean average of 3.60 for Math 11 and 3.52 for Math 181. Clearly, the use of learning management system should be recommended to all educators to help students improve their performance in classes. Keywords- Moodle, Learning Management System, UPLB, Chi Square INTRODUCTION The word MOODLE or Modular Object- Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment is a free and open-source e- learning software platform that is a type of a Course Management System (CMS), Learning Management System (LMS) or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is designed to help educators create online courses with opportunities for rich interaction. Its open source license and modular design mean that people can develop additional functionality. Development is undertaken by globally diffused network of commercial and noncommercial users particularly streamlined by the MOODLE Company [1]. MOODLE has significant user base of 52,153 registered sites with 30,176,528 users in 2,770,832 courses in 207 countries and it has more than 75 supported languages (as of March 27, 2009). Moreover, it has been evolving since 1999 (since 2001 with the current architecture) with its current version that was released in May Some The Sixth International Conference on elearning for Knowledge-Based Society, December 2009, Thailand 22.1

2 Lynie B. Dimasuay and Beverly R. Pabro major improvements include are accessibility and display flexibility [2]. Fourteen computer science courses and four physics courses on 2 nd semester of started MOODLE in the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB). The faculty that first to use are from the Institute of Computer Sciences (ICS) and Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics (IMSP) under the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Fortunately, additional courses are being developed every semester and in the last five semesters, the use of MOODLE as a learning management system is gaining popularity to our faculty. For the 2 nd semester of there are now 23 courses from CAS and 6 from the other colleges. All courses can be viewed in the UPLB website page under Materials and Methods A survey on the use of MOODLE was conducted on two mathematics subjects. The questionnaire consisted of 10 items and the respondents, enrolled 1 st semester of , were selected at random. The respondents were 77 students from the College Algebra (Math 11) and 46 students from the Introduction to Probability Theory (Math 181). Descriptive statistics, weighted mean of the responses, and Chi square test were used to present the results. Results focus on the discussion of some features of MOODLE and how it enhanced learning. Objectives 1. To determine the popularity of MOODLE in UPLB; and 2. To determine if it can help students performance. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION I. Profile of the respondents A. Classification and degree program Table 1 shows that majority of the respondents from Math 11 were freshman (77%) while senior students dominated Math 181 (61%). In contrast, the least number of respondents for Math 11 (5%) were junior students and sophomore students for Math Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 17 No. SP3, December,

3 Use of Learning Management System: A University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Classroom Experience 181 (9%). As expected, freshmen students dominate Math 11 because this is the first and basic math course required in the first semester of a student. In addition, majority of the degree programs offered in UPLB has Math 11 as part of a student s curriculum. Whereas for Math 181, it is specific to only Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics students. In terms of the distribution of students by their degree programs, this is found in Table 2 and Table 3. From the 77 respondents of Math 11 students, 16% were BS Biology students, 13% were BS Development Communication, 12% were both from BS Food Technology and BS Agriculture, 9% were BS Nutrition, 8% were BS Agricultural Economics and PREVET, 6% were BS Forestry, 5% were BS Agribusiness, and 3% were BS Human Ecology. On the other hand, 65% of Math 181 respondents were BS Math while the 35% were BS Applied Math students. TABLE 1. CLASSIFICATION OF THE RESPONDENTS Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior TABLE 2. ENROLLED DEGREE PROGRAM OF MATH 11 RESPONDENTS Degree Program Frequency % BS Bio BS Development Communication BS Food Technology BA Communication Arts BS Agriculture BS Nutrition BS Ag Econ PREVET BS Forestry BS Agribusiness BS Human Ecology TABLE 3. ENROLLED DEGREE PROGRAM OF MATH 181 RESPONDENTS Degree Program Frequency % BS Math BS Applied Math B. Distribution by Colleges Table 4 shows that 26% of Math 11 respondents were from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), followed by the College of Agriculture (CA) with 23%, College of Development Communication (CDC) with 13%, College of Human Ecology (CHE) with 12%, College of Economics and Management (CEM) with 9%, and 6% both from the College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR) and College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Meanwhile, 100% of the respondents of Math 181 were from CAS. Math 11 is required in all degree programs that is why all colleges are represented. Math 181 is a major course normally taken by Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics both under CAS. Figure 1. Distribution of the respondents by degree program The Sixth International Conference on elearning for Knowledge-Based Society, December 2009, Thailand 22.3

4 Lynie B. Dimasuay and Beverly R. Pabro TABLE 4. MATH 11 RESPONDENTS UNDER THEIR RESPECTIVE COLLEGES College Frequency % CAS CA CDC CHE CEM CFNR CVM No Answer II. Awareness on MOODLE Fifty eight percent (58%) of Math 11 respondents were aware that MOODLE is a course management platform while 42% were neither aware nor familiar (as shown in Table 5). For Math 181, there was higher awareness about MOODLE depicted by the 74% percentage. This is due to the fact that Math 181 students who stayed longer in the university might have encountered MOODLE in their other courses. III. Sources of Information With regards to a student s source of information about MOODLE, 61% of Math 11 and 74% of Math 181 answered that they heard it from their respective professors. Other sources specified in the survey were from their peers/classmates and from the internet (as shown in Table 6). TABLE 6. SOURCES OF INFORMATION OF RESPONDENTS ON MOODLE Professor Peers/ Classmate Internet No Answer TABLE 5. AWARENESS OF THE RESPONDENTS ABOUT MOODLE Yes No Figure 3. Graph of the distribution of the students source of information by course. Figure 2. Graph of the distribution of on the student s awareness by Course IV. Using MOODLE in other subjects Sixty one percent (61%) of Math 11 responded that they did not encounter the use of MOODLE in their other subjects, however almost half (48%) of Math 181 indicated that they were already familiar with it (Table 7). It is very evident that MOODLE is not yet that popular to our faculty considering that majority of the respondents in Math 181 are senior which may have taken a minimum of 108 units or almost 36 courses. Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 17 No. SP3, December,

5 Use of Learning Management System: A University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Classroom Experience Furthermore, the respondents were asked to list down the other subjects that used MOODLE, both Math 11 and Math 181 identified three (3) subject courses. All of the courses as shown in Table 8 and Table 9 were from the CAS except DevC10. However, other subjects were also listed but when verified are not really using MOODLE but other web groups like the yahoo groups. TABLE 7. POPULARITY OF THE USE OF MOODLE IN OTHER SUBJECT(S) Yes No No Answer V. Frequency of using MOODLE More than half (52%) of Math 11 respondents used MOODLE once a week, whereas 43% of Math 181 respondents indicated that they were using it only once a month (Table 10). Lectures are twice a week for both courses. Lecture materials, assignments or announcements are uploaded either a week or 2 days before the lecture. TABLE 10. FREQUENCY OF USING MOODLE Frequency of using MOODLE once a day once a week once a month no answer Figure 4. Graph of the distribution of students usage of MOODLE on other subjects by course. TABLE 8. OTHER SUBJECTS ENCOUNTERED BY MATH 11 RESPONDENTS THAT USE MOODLE. Subject Frequency IT 1 2 CMSC 2 1 DEVC10 1 TABLE 9. OTHER SUBJECTS ENCOUNTERED BY MATH 181 RESPONDENTS THAT USE MOODLE. Subject Frequency IT 1 5 Math CMSC 11 2 Figure 5. Graph of the distribution of the frequency of using MOODLE by course VI. Features of MOODLE A. On its accessibility Students from Math 11 and Math 181 perceived that MOODLE was accessible with 80.5% and 78%, respectively (as shown in Table 11). Both got a weighted mean of close to 4.0. Although, it is available in the website or online, there are instances of technical problem that s why students can t sometimes access the course. The Sixth International Conference on elearning for Knowledge-Based Society, December 2009, Thailand 22.5

6 Lynie B. Dimasuay and Beverly R. Pabro TABLE 11. RESPONSES OF STUDENTS THAT MOODLE IS ACCESSIBLE Math 11 % Math % 181 Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Strongly Weighted Mean * 5-strongly agree, 4-agree, 3-neither agree nor disagree, 2-disagree, 1-strongly disagree B. MOODLE is intuitive to use. Sixty eight percent (68%) from Math 11 and 78% from Math 181 agreed that MOODLE is intuitive to use. This is one feature also of this software that makes the users think and feel that there is learning going on or learning progress every time they will access the course. It s like a classroom situation extended in the web. In addition, the respondents also mentioned the best feature they liked about MOODLE is its accessibility and convenience. It gives the complete list of downloads, including handouts, modules, Power point presentations, and lecture notes, and therefore, one can easily download files he/she needs. TABLE 12. RESPONSES OF MATH 11 AND MATH 181 STUDENTS THAT MOODLE IS INTUITIVE TO USE Math 11 % Math % 181 Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Strongly Weighted Mean VII. MOODLE as a Learning Tool A. As an asset to the course Both Math 11 and Math 181 respondents showed high percentage (86% and 91%, respectively) as to MOODLE being an asset to the course in Table 13. TABLE 13. MOODLE AS AN ASSET Yes No No Answer According to the multiple responses of the students, MOODLE helped them a lot since the whole lecture is uploaded including some of the announcements, assignments and exercises that students can access anytime. It also made them organized in their lectures and even prepared them for the next lesson. MOODLE, as they said, is also easy to use and helped them in solving learning difficulties, thus it enhances the learning process. The students also believed that with all the advances in technology, it is right to use this software for the betterment of our society. B. As a help in the progress of learning in class Table 14 shows that 69% of Math 11 and 74% of Math 181 students either agreed or strongly agreed that MOODLE helped them in their progress in the class with a weighted mean of nearly 4.0 on both subjects. The reasons cited by the students are the availability of the lecture materials, answer to assignment, quizzes, and sample exams which help them to prepare for their long exams. Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 17 No. SP3, December,

7 Use of Learning Management System: A University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Classroom Experience TABLE 14. RESPONSES OF STUDENTS THAT MOODLE HELP THEM IN THEIR LEARNING PROGRESS IN THE CLASS. Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Strongly Weighted mean C. To augment face-to-face learning. More than half of Math 11 and Math 181 respondents affirmed that MOODLE can augment face-to-face learning. The weighted mean of their responses is 3.6 and 3.5 for Math 11 and Math 181 respectively (as shown in Table 15). This supports the claim of those experts who have developed this platform. Some users opt to mix MOODLE with the traditional learning which then resulted to a blended type of learning. TABLE 15. RESPONSES OF STUDENTS ON THE USE OF MOODLE TO AUGMENT THE FACE TO FACE LEARNING. Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Strongly Weighted Mean VIII. Chi-square analysis Chi-square test was performed to determine if there is an association between students classification and their responses. The result under the learning progress as depicted in Table 16 showed that for both courses, Math 11 and Math 181, the test is not significant at α=0.05. This means that the response of the students have nothing to do with their classifications being a freshman or a senior student. Under the sub-category to augment faceto-face learning, the response of Math 11 students showed a significant result. However, the value of the Spearman Correlation coefficient is only suggesting that the linear relationship is weak (Table 17). Lastly, the association between the two courses and responses showed to be not significant (Table 18). This proves that a student s response is independent of the courses. TABLE 16. LEARNING PROGRESS (CLASSIFICATION BY RESPONSE) Pearson Chi Degrees of P-Value Square Freedom Math Math TABLE 17. AUGMENT FACE-TO-FACE LEARNING (CLASSIFICATION BY RESPONSE) Pearson Degrees of Augment Face to Face Learning Learning Progress Math 11 Math 181 Pearson Chi Square P- Chi Square Freedom Value TABLE 18. COURSES BY RESPONSE Degrees of Freedom P- Value Tabular Value Spearman Cor. Coeff CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION Out of the 46 students in Math 181, four failed in the course and these students were not participants of the MOODLE. However, The Sixth International Conference on elearning for Knowledge-Based Society, December 2009, Thailand 22.7

8 Lynie B. Dimasuay and Beverly R. Pabro the 12 students who have no accessed to the also passed the course. On the other hand, 35 failed out of 174 students in Math 11 and 21 of these students have no accessed to this learning environment. Those 14 students who were participants and yet failed the course showed that their last log in to the MOODLE had an average of 62 days from the time the survey was conducted. In addition, from a total of 61 students who have no accessed where 21 students failed, the other 40 students made it successfully. Although the response of the students in both subjects on MOODLE as tool for learning was very positive, it is hard to establish a correlation between their grades and their frequency of accessing MOODLE. This is because names of the respondents were optional. A more thorough study is then recommended to validate this claim. Moreover, based on the result of the survey, the utilization of MOODLE as a learning environment by the faculty of UPLB is currently very slow. Although every semester, new courses are added to the list, the number is still few considering that UPLB offers 1286 courses under nine colleges. More training is suggested on the use of MOODLE to encourage the faculty to incorporate e-learning in their teaching. More so explain the advantage of using this software versus the other groups available. To make MOODLE more effective, make this as venue for online consultation and student interaction. Interactive modules are preferred by the students not simply uploading lecture materials. That is why giving of quizzes or assignment is highly encourage. [1] Wikepedia.org. [2] Moodle.org REFERENCES Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 17 No. SP3, December,

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