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Measuring Learner Engagement in Computer-Equipped College Classrooms

, , , , University of California, Santa Barbara, United States

Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia Volume 17, Number 2, ISSN 1055-8896 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


Invited as a Paper From ED-MEDIA 2006

Although engagement and learning appear linked, quantitatively measuring this relationship is challenging. New technologies offer a window into studying the interactions among classroom activity, student engagement, and positive learning outcomes in computer-equipped classrooms. A Classroom Behavioral Analysis System (CBAS) was developed to measure student engagement in a college writing class, and to test the hypothesis that an interactive lesson would increase student engagement levels in a computer-equipped classroom. Student computer-based behaviors (off-task and on-task internet visits) were compared during a traditional, lecture-based lesson (no-simulation condition) and an interactive simulation-based lesson (simulation condition). The dependent variable was student engagement as measured by the number of off-task and on-task internet activities during the lesson. Off-task internet activities were operationalized as website visits that were not part of the classroom activity; on-task internet activities included websites that related to the assigned class activity. CBAS recorded all student computer actions during the observed instructional periods. Students attending a simulation-based lesson performed more on-task internet actions, and significantly fewer off-task internet actions than did students attending a lecture-based lesson. These findings support the hypothesis that interactive lessons increase student engagement levels in computer-equipped classrooms, and demonstrate that CBAS is a promising tool for studying student engagement.


Bulger, M.E., Mayer, R.E., Almeroth, K.C. & Blau, S.D. (2008). Measuring Learner Engagement in Computer-Equipped College Classrooms. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 17(2), 129-143. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 26, 2019 from .


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Cited By

  1. Engagement-for-Achievement: Creating a Model for Online Student Engagement

    Leni Casimiro, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Philippines

    EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2015 (Jun 22, 2015) pp. 11–20

  2. Are Students Really Listening?

    Kathy Robinson & Alanah Kazlauskas, Australian Catholic University, Australia

    EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2011 (Jun 27, 2011) pp. 2805–2810

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