The Association between Computer Laboratory Environment and Student Outcomes

Year: 1998

Author: Newby, Michael, Fisher, Darrell

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This study focuses on the computer laboratory class as a learning environment in university courses. In it, two previously developed instruments, the Computer Laboratory Environment Inventory (CLEI) and the Attitude towards Computing and Computing Courses Questionnaire (ACCC) were used. The CLEI has five scales for measuring students' perceptions of aspects of their laboratory environment. These are Student Cohesiveness, Open-Endness, Integration, Technology Adequacy and Laboratory Availability. The ACCC has four scales, Anxiety, Enjoyment, Usefulness of Computers and Usefulness of the Course. These instruments were administered to a sample of 208 students taking computing courses within the Business School at Curtin University. The sample covered specialist programming courses as well as courses in which the students uses software tools such as spreadsheets. With the exception of Laboratory Availability, all the environment variables were found to correlate significantly with all attitudinal variables. The only environment variable with significant association with achievement was Student Cohesiveness. However, the results showed that there were significant associations between the attitudinal variables, Anxiety, Enjoyment and Usefulness of the Course and achievement. Regression analysis supported the findings that the environment variables made a significant contribution to the attitudinal variables, and these in turn made a significant contribution to achievement. Structural Equation Modelling supported the hypothesis that the computer laboratory environment affects achievement indirectly by directly affecting students' attitudes.