Survey Results: The Development of Media Literacy Skills in English 105 Students

At the midterm of this semester I surveyed six sections of English 105 with the intention of documenting students’ thoughts on their development of the technology and visual literacy skills used in class. I wanted to know how my students’ perception of their technology and visual literacy skills–with the blog assignments and multimodal projects as the core of their homework–compared to the perceptions of students from more standard English 105 classes. This post looks at the multiple choice questions of the survey. To read about the open-ended questions please Click Here.

Methodology

I created ten questions on Surveymonkey.com modeled after Colorado State University’s Writing Studio guidelines for conducting field research. To view The Writing Studio’s website please Click Here. Eight of the questions were multiple choice and two of the questions were open-ended.

I surveyed the three sections of English 105 that I teach along with three random sections of English 105. I conducted all the surveys during the same week of the semester (the first week of March), and in similar environments (in computer labs). All six sections of the classes I surveyed were in the process of writing the informational paper.

Background Information 

In the three sections of English 105 that I teach, students use the following technology: Black Board Learn discussion posts for some homework assignments, Google Drive for peer review of academic papers, WordPress for posting to The Critical Student Blog and self-directed choice of media design tools for the multimodal projects (Word, video recording software, online meme makers, Prezi, etc).

The other three sections of English 105 use these technologies: Black Board Learn discussion posts for some homework assignments and Google Drive for peer review of academic papers.

Summary of Results

The results from the three sections of English 105 that use a student blog and multimodal projects in the curriculum saw a marked increase in positive responses in two areas: the improvement of technology skills and the understanding of the role media plays in society. Most of the other questions, on the ability of students to analyze messages in a variety of forms and the ability of students to critically analyze social media and popular news, saw very little increase in positive responses (responses from all classes showed a high rate of confidence in these skills). On the question “How much has this class improved your ability to analyze academic texts?” about 70% of students from my classes, and about 70% of students from the other classes, responded that their ability to analyze academic texts had improved “some.”

About 30% more of the students in the classes using a student blog and creating multimodal projects thought their technology skills were improving because of English 105. 

These are the results from the three sections of English 105 that use the blog and create multimodal projects for each module.

These are the responses from the three sections of English 105 that use the blog and create multimodal projects for each module. Click the graph to enlarge.

Responses from the students in other sections of English 105.

This graph shows the responses from the students in other sections of English 105. Click the graph to enlarge.

About 15% more of students in the classes using the blog and creating multimodal projects believed their understanding of the role media plays in society had increased because of English 105. 

This graph is of the responses from the three sections of English 105 that I teach. Please note that the "now" is a typo of "no."

This graph is of the responses from the three sections of English 105 that I teach. Please note that the “now” is a typo of “no.” Click the graph to enlarge.

This is a graph of responses from students in the other sections of English 105. Please note that the response "now" is a typo of "no."

This is a graph of responses from students in the other sections of English 105. Please note that the response “now” is a typo of “no.” Click the graph to enlarge.

To compare the rest of the results please Click Here for the responses from the students in the sections that use the blog and multimodal projects and Click Here for the responses from the other sections of English 105.

Conclusion

This survey didn’t provide any eye-opening or earth-shattering information. But the results do suggest that incorporating a blog and mutlimodal projects is beneficial for some students (as seen by the 30% and 15% increase in positive responses about gaining technology skills and a better understanding the role media plays in society). These survey results also suggest that the addition of social media (the blog) and multimodal projects doesn’t hurt students or detract from their engagement with academic discourse. This element needs to be studied further, but I think it is important to note that in all sections 70% of students thought that English 105 had only helped them improve their ability to analyze academic texts “some.”

As my sections of English 105 dive deeper into their academic research for the informational paper and the extended argument, I intend to construct lesson plans and activities that will help them further transfer their analysis of digital media skills to academic discourse. Please stay tuned for updates on these lesson plans. I am also in the process of constructing a second survey, to be conducted at the end of the semester, to further document the impact of the blog and multimodal projects on my English 105 students.

Click Here to read my analysis of the open-ended questions on the survey.

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