Students' Perceptions of the Utilization of Learning Management System (LMS) Features: A Case Study of a Geology Course at KFUPM, Saudi Arabia

Students' Perceptions of the Utilization of Learning Management System (LMS) Features: A Case Study of a Geology Course at KFUPM, Saudi Arabia

Mustafa M. Hariri (Earth Sciences Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/ijtd.2014100104
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Abstract

Utilization of the LMS in teaching is a very crucial and important issue. It will reflect on the students better learning and understanding of the subject. The current practices of student-centered learning (where students contribute to the subject and get involved in the learning process) can also be applied very effectively through using the LMS. This paper summarizes students' perceptions and point of view of utilizing LMS learning features and how important it is to their study and comprehension of the course subjects. The study was conducted on a geology graduate course (Advanced Structural Geology) taught in Earth Sciences Department, at KFUPM. Several features of the LMS were used, including e-mail, announcement, course content, and online discussion. A survey seeking students' perceptions of the utilization of the LMS in teaching was prepared and the learning measurement was determined through the level of satisfaction of students and how much the experiment added to their learning. The study showed that students are favoring the online discussion and considered it as a very effective tool that helped them in their understanding and comprehension of the course subject. Moreover, other features, such as email, announcement, and grade-book, were also of importance from the students' point of view as they enhance their contact with the instructor and provide them with feedback on their performance.
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Utilization Of The Learning Management System (Lms)

Adoption and utilization of LMS (learning management system) in education became essential and necessary for better education and teaching at present time. The term LMS is used interchangeable with term CMS (course management system). However, Shankar, (2007) defined the features and functions of each terms and showed the differences between them. He further emphasized that “CMS supports long term classroom sessions, while an LMS supports a number of short training events”Through the LMS the instructor can practice several aspects of effective learning such as student-centered learning, self-depended learning, writing and communication skills and collaborate learning. Those issues will reflect on the students’ comprehension of the subject. However, those issues will not be achieved unless they are considered as part of the teaching strategy when using the LMS and not only utilizing it as a tool. Additionally, Al- Busaidi, and Al-Shihi (2010), indicated that the adoption of LMS by instructor depends on several factors related to; the instructor, the organization and the technology. Among the factors that related to instructor are the teaching style and personal innovativeness. Moreover, among the five ways of using LMS effectively is the learning measurement that suggested by Gautam (2010). Measuring of learning will be achieved through the ensuring of that the inputs received from stakeholders are aligned with the objective of using of the LMS. If this issue is achieved then the LMS utilization will be considered as an effective learning.

The term LMS used in this paper refers to the Blackboard CE8 platform provided by KFUPM (King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals). The main purpose of providing the LMS at KFUPM is to enable faculty members to upload, and deliver their course contents, and to utilize it for better education through communication and engagement with students. More importantly, the objective of utilizing the LMS as a tool of education at KFUPM meant to be for enhancing students learning and not for distance education.

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