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Thesis
Addressing the Decline of Academic Performance Among First-Year Composition Students: A Usability Analysis of Two Important Online Resources
Graduate Theses and Dissertations
  • Kate Zephyrhawke, University of South Florida
Date Approved
1-1-2011
Graduation Year
2011
Document Type
Thesis
Degree
M.A.
Degree Granting Department
English
Major Professor
Debra Jacobs
Keywords
  • crisis in education,
  • freshman,
  • learning,
  • post-secondary,
  • resistance,
  • writing
Abstract
An increasing number of students entering college lack the academic skills necessary to perform well at the college level, forcing professors and academic institutions to lower standards. Students approach higher education as a commodity, and as consumers they assert their desire for easier course work by giving poor evaluations to instructors whose courses they find too demanding or difficult. Eliminating student evaluations is one necessary change that will help reverse declining standards in higher education and increase performance; providing effective venues for supplemental instruction is another. Teaching basic writing skills in freshman composition courses would waste valuable instruction time that must be spent on higher-order concerns, such as critical thinking, abstract reasoning, essay development, and research skills. Online writing labs offer lower-order instruction in grammar, punctuation, syntax, and style for students at any level, as do the learning programs that accompany composition textbooks and handbooks, yet these resources are under-utilized by students who need the most help. Usability studies would reveal site-specific reasons students avoid or abandon them. This paper includes an initial view of two online writing resources from the perspective of usability: what works about the design and functionality, and what most likely does not.
Citation Information
Kate Zephyrhawke. "Addressing the Decline of Academic Performance Among First-Year Composition Students: A Usability Analysis of Two Important Online Resources" (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kate_zephyrhawke/1/