Type of Document Dissertation Author Dagli, Arif Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-04122005-010935 Title Culture and Information Needs in Web-Based Learning: An Instrumental Case Study of Multilingual Graduate Students Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Information Studies, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Kathleen M Burnett Committee Chair Gary D Burnett Committee Member Marcy P Driscoll Committee Member Michelle M Kazmer Committee Member Keywords
- Online Learning
- Web-Based Learning
- Instructional Systems
- Distance Learning
- Higher Education
- Information Seeking
- Information Behaviour
- Information Behavior
- Information Needs
- Information Studies
- Graduate Students
- Instructional Design
- Instrumental Case Study
- Library Studies
- International Education
Date of Defense 2004-08-06 Availability unrestricted AbstractWeb-based learning is rapidly expanding as a method of delivery in higher education. Nationally and internationally, more and more graduate degree programs are using this delivery method as a viable alternative to traditional campus based face-to face education. Educators need to examine the extent to which information needs of students are being met in web-based contexts. Because the majority of students enrolled in web-based courses do not live near enough to their host institution to take advantage of traditional information resources, they may not have the same opportunities to meet their information needs. Therefore, careful assessment and examination of student information needs is very critical to provide appropriate student services and to ensure student success.
In addition, more research is required to explore the information needs of specific populations, such as multilingual students studying in web-based contexts. This instrumental case study was concerned with culture and information needs of multilingual graduate students in web-based learning contexts. Specifically, it aimed at answering the following research questions: 1) How and in what ways do multilingual graduate students in web-based degree programs perceive that their culture affects the way they meet their information needs in web-based learning contexts? 2) What do multilingual graduate students in web-based degree graduate programs perceive as their information needs? 3) What are the main characteristics and primary uses of information to satisfy multilingual graduate studentsí needs?
The study used the Comprehensive Model of Information Seeking by Johnson (1997) as a theoretical foundation. The target population for this study was multilingual students who had partaken in a graduate level web-based learning degree program and/or course. This research employed semi-structured interviews as the primary data gathering technique.
The findings of the study indicate that there were two types of factors influencing multilingual graduate students in web-based course contexts: a) factors relating to studentsí demographics and direct experience with the context and b) factors relating to the context in which web-based courses are delivered, such as course related factors, technical factors, time related factors, and course resource-related factors.
Major findings of the study include that certain cultural elements directly affect the ways multilingual graduate students meet their information needs in web-based courses as they pursue their graduate degrees: Language; geographic location; level of education; communication and interaction skills and styles; length of stay in host country; and cultural proximity to culture of host country. Some cultural elements do not affect the students directly; they have indirect effects on the students, such as social class, nation of origin, and age. Finally, race or ethnicity, and gender were reported to have played no direct role in fulfilling their information needs in web-based courses.
Other findings of the study include that students perceive that there are three types of information needs: a) information needs of the students relating to the University, b) information needs of the students relating to the program, and c) information needs of the students relating to courses.
The participants were asked to characterize the types of information they used and describe all information sources that they utilized to satisfy their needs in web-based courses. Online library resources and course websites were two most often used information sources. Additionally, physical libraries, including the University libraries, local university, public, or community college libraries were used by the participants to meet their information needs. Textbooks and printed materials were among the other most often used information sources by the study participants.
Finally, each participant was asked to identify and provide examples of information use activities where they met their information needs in their web-based courses. Students had to fulfill their information needs in three types of activities both synchronously and asynchronously: 1) class discussions individually or collectively; 2) individual assignments; and 3) group projects and assignments.
In conclusion, an overview of this instrumental case study, limitations of the study and implications for the theoretical framework and information practices are presented. Recommendations for future research are made.
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