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Final Project Link:

http://uainternationalstudents.weebly.com/
Descriptive Paper

Nicholas Martin & Sha Li
The University of Akron
Spring 2014






Descriptive Paper 2
Table of Contents

Design Document..........................................................................................................................3
Evaluation Plan............................................................................................................................11
Instructional Strategy Plan...........................................................................................................25
Task Analysis Report...................................................................................................................30
Scenarios......................................................................................................................................43
UI Specification ..........................................................................................................................46
Expert and User Reviews............................................................................................................54
Usability Test..............................................................................................................................62
Implementation Plan...................................................................................................................71
Reflection......................................................................................................................... ..........74













Descriptive Paper 3
Design Document
A. Background Information

The purpose of this WBLS will be to give new international students instruction that will help
them adapt to living in a new city and learning at a new university. The specific audience
(learners) for this WBLS would be new international students at The University of Akron. The
audience would be undergraduate and graduate students and could come from many different
countries. Our goal will be to design a WBLS that new international students would be able to
access in their native countries before students leave home to come to the United States. The
students would be able to self-evaluate their progress as they move through the lessons. Since
this WBLS would not be part of a university course, students would not have to submit work to a
professor or to the university. We are hoping that this project would be used in the future by the
Office of International Programs as part of their overall efforts to help new international students
get accustomed to living and learning in Akron. We are hoping to get ideas from them for this
project in order to design a WBLS that would specifically meet the needs of new international
students at UA. We could also work with the English Language Institute on campus.

B. Problem Analysis

Actuals: What are the problems to solve?

The new incoming international students at The University of Akron are currently able to get to
know some resources regarding adapting their lives in a new city and learning at a new
university from the Office of International Programs (OIP) at the University of Akron
academically and non-academically. For instance, incoming students can look at the University
website, have conversations with other international students through an online discussion forum,
read over brief information about campus on brochures sent by OIP together with admission
letter before they arrive there, and Orientation activities after several days they arrive at Akron,
and so forth. However, this is not enough to meet the needs of new incoming international
students, especially for getting access to the information from their native countries before they
leave home and come to the United States.

UA international students face many challenges learning to adapt to a new environment that is
different from their native countries. Students might not be familiar with the campus, the city of
Akron, American social customs and etiquette, or American measurements and currency. For
some international students, this is their first experience living outside their native country or
living on their own. Students might not have money management or other financial literacy
skills, including creating a personal budget. Since students are not from Akron, they would not
be familiar with apartment buildings around the city or other housing options on or off
campus. Also, students would not know where banks, restaurants, grocery stores, or other
important locations are. International students might not also be familiar with study skills that
would help them be successful students, such as reading research articles or writing
essays. Students might not also be familiar with the American classroom environment, since it
might be very different from their native countries.

Gaps: What are the gaps between actual and optimal learning outcome/performance?
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New incoming international students have limited access to the detailed practical guidance and
knowledge for their daily life, and competencies for being successful in academics in the United
States. Students might be proficient in academic English, but might be short of skills in social
intercourse with native speakers. It would be helpful if incoming international students had
conversation partners who were already students at UA. The current students could share their
experiences with the incoming students and provide safe, positive experiences for both students
to practice using English in social settings. The current students could help prepare the new
students for what academic and social experiences they might have at UA. By consulting with
the Office of International Programs or the English Language Institute on The University of
Akrons campus, we hope to gain some additional insight or data into the specific instructional
areas that would benefit UA international students the most.

Optimals: Describe your ideas of how the problem/gaps can be resolved.

New incoming international students will be able to obtain basic knowledge and practical skills
regarding American life and schools system before ever setting foot at UA. Students will be able
to successfully adapt to a new city and learn in a new university faster and efficiently. We hope
OIP at UA will consider using our website as one part of their overall programming and make it
available to international students.

Describe your viewpoint of whether WBLS is an appropriate way to solve the problem (you need
to be clear with the purpose and reason of using WBI to meet the needs).

Since we want international students to be able to use the WBLS before they come to campus,
web-based instruction would be an appropriate way to solve these problems. Learners would be
able to access and use the WBLS from anywhere in the world that has an Internet
connection. Learners wouldnt have to be at home or even in their native country! Web-based
learning would give incoming international students opportunities to communicate with current
UA students using either asynchronous discussion boards or synchronous live chats. Incoming
students could have conversation partners who have the same native language, but could practice
using English in an online setting. It might also be possible for learners to use the same WBLS
to communicate with parents and families at home once learners have arrived on the UA campus.

If WBLS is a possible solution, how will WBLS help?

This WBLS would help new international students feel more connected to their future school
(The University of Akron), even though learners would have never seen it before in
person. Learners would be able to use the knowledge gained in this WBLS to make a more
successful transition to becoming a UA student. Since the learners would be located around the
world, this WBLS could help create a stronger community among new UA international students
and a support network that would be able to help each other during their adjustment period to
living and learning in the United States. This WBLS could also help incoming international
students build friendships with current UA students through the online conversation feature.
These friendships would help students feel more confident in coming to The University of Akron.
By learning academic skills that will help them succeed at an American college, this WBLS
could also lead to greater academic outcomes among the learners who use it.
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C. Instructional Situation Analysis

a. Learning Goal and Outcome Level

The preliminary goal statement: At the end of the WBLS, new incoming international students
will be able to successfully complete all the course materials and develop basic knowledge and
practical skills regarding how successfully adjusting to American life and school system before
ever setting foot at UA. The students will be able to apply what they learn from the WBLS to
practice after they come to the U.S, and succeed in both academic and non-academic aspects.

The solution for the problems and needs: The solution to the problems is to provide both
academic and non-academic lessons regarding how to help new international students well
prepare to succeed in adapting to studying in the United States as a new UA student before they
leave home and come to the United States. In order to meet students needs and purposely know
what students really need to know before they come to the U.S., we will consult with the Office
of International Programs on The University of Akrons campus so that we can gain some
additional insight or data into the specific instructional areas that would benefit UA international
students the most. Besides, we will also contact chairs of organization at UA from different
countries for more information so that we can build our WBLS to be more purposeful and
meaningful.

Our non-academic lessons could be designed focusing on dealing with students daily life
support. For instance, students could learn about finding a place to live, opening bank account
and cell phone service, setting up accounts for utilities and internet, car insurance, acquiring
social security number, and so forth. Our academic lessons could be focusing on language
development, especially oral and social skills both in non-academic and classroom environment,
American slang, U.S. system of metric measurement and currency, the basic geography of Akron
using maps, study skills such as reading research articles and writing essays. All of the required
resources will be given to students in the WBLS. The resources include useful links, pictures,
video tutorials, textbooks, a discussion board for students to share experiences, homework
including writing journals, language and other knowledge test in order to evaluate their learning.

b. Instructional Context

Incoming international students would learn about the WBLS from the Office of International
Programs (OIP) at UA. If there would be any problems with or questions about the WBLS, the
learners would be able to contact staff at the OIP. If the OIP staff was unable to handle the
problem or answer the learners questions to their satisfaction, then the OIP would have to
contact the computer support desk on campus. Staff at the OIP would have to get the contact
information for the learner, such as their phone number or e-mail address. Once the support desk
has an answer to their question or deals with their problem, the OIP staff would be able to get
back to the learner. The learner would also be able to contact the computer support desk
themselves, but if the learner doesnt feel comfortable sending an e-mail in English or using
English during a long-distance phone call, the option would exist for learners to contact OIP for
assistance. If the English Language Institute is involved with this project, then that office could
also provide the same assistance as the Office of International Programs.

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Learners would be located in many different countries around the world. Some learners might
live in urban areas, while others might live in rural areas. Learners would need a computer that
runs on Windows or Mac OS operating systems and have a high-speed, broadband Internet
connection in order to access the WBLS. Learners would need a computer that would be able to
view Microsoft Office and PDF documents and play audio and video files. Learners would not
need to install any special software applications or download any special programs.

c. Learner Analysis

The learners with consist of individuals from a range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, since
potential UA international students come from countries all around the world. The ages of the
learners would likely fall between 20 and 30 years old, since this is the age range for traditional
college students. However, it is possible that some learners might be over the age of 30,
especially graduate students. Learners would likely have a high school diploma or equivalent
degree from their native countries. Learners would also likely have experience reading, writing,
or speaking English. However, the range of English experience among the potential learners
could vary greatly.

Since learners would already be accepted to The University of Akron, they would have a high
level of interest in learning more about their future school and would be very curious about the
kinds of activities, places, and events that UA and the city of Akron offers. The learners would
also have a high level of interest in connecting with other international students who are either
currently attending UA or who would be attending at the same time in the future. Also, if some
learners have never lived away from home or traveled outside their native country, they would be
interested in learning how to secure housing (on-campus or off-campus), purchase a vehicle, and
other strategies that would help them live independently.

Learners would likely have at least basic computer skills, such as using a keyboard, a mouse,
sending e-mail, and navigating around a website. Learners might even have more advanced
computer skills, such as posting comments to discussion boards, uploading or attaching files (e.g.
documents, images, or videos), or using web conferencing or videoconferencing tools (e.g.
Skype or Google Hangouts).

d. Instructional Content Analysis

Since learners will have varying degrees of experience using English, one of the most important
instructional considerations will be using words and phrases within the WBLS that are very
familiar to both beginning and advanced English learners alike. It will be important not to use
any slang, colloquial words or phrases, or any technical language that would be more difficult for
a beginning English learner to read or understand. The font styles that are used within the
WBLS will also need to be easy to read, since some learners might not be able to read fancier
text. Since the language used within the WBLS will be kept very simple, images will play an
important role in sharing and communicating content to learners.

Here are some other considerations in regards to the instructional content:

Video interviews could be conducted with current UA international students, and these
Descriptive Paper 7
recordings could be uploaded and added to the WBLS. Incoming international students
would be able to watch these video interviews and learn what life is like as a UA
student.
To help students learn about the city of Akron and the UA campus, city and campus maps
and pictures showing important landmarks or locations could be included in the
WBLS. Short videos of campus or around the city could also be included.
To help students learn about U.S. currency and U.S. measurements, conversion charts
and virtual coins and bills could be included.
To help learners better understand the content of WBLS and read it in their native
language, the option of a translating feature to allow the content to be translated into
different languages other English within the WBLS could be included.
Useful links to help understand the knowledge and materials could be included in the
WBLS. For instance, bank information, car insurance companies, groceries stores.
A discussion platform for new incoming international students to interact and share
experiences with the current students could be included in the WBLS. This helps prepare
them to gain confidence about the life they are going to face at the UA. Native speakers
from the University will also be encouraged to join the conversation. This allows new
incoming international students not only to improve their language, but also learn more
about American pop culture and other customs and traditions by making friends with
American students. The format could be live chat or discussion board.
Suggestions of different skills for students to contact their families when they arrive in
the U.S could be included. For instance, where to find the best deal for calling back to
their home countries.

e. Content-focus learning objectives

Here is a list of learning objectives for our WBLS.
Evaluate housing options to make informed decisions
Identify temporary housing options
Identify off-campus housing options
Describe parts of a rental agreement/lease
Distinguish between on-campus housing and off-campus housing
Recognize important events and places in Akron
Identify important events in the history of Akron
Interpret the meaning of symbols that are important to Akron
Identify popular attractions, museums, entertainment venues in the Akron area,
and annual events that take place in Akron\
Determine what attractions or events would be of most interest to you once you
arrive in the United States
Recognize the important geographic features of Akron and Ohio
Develop basic language academic skills and understand culture shock
Familiarize yourself with some conversational topics
Identify five stages of culture shock, and understand how to fight culture shock.
Acquire entry skills to successfully adapt into the U.S. campus life
Evaluate different shopping center and make decision on the locations to shop
different things
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Identity the places where you can shop for food, home, school supplies, etc.
Identify bank options available to open a bank account near campus.
Distinguish difference between a credit and a debit card, and understand the
importance of having a credit card in the U.S.
Acquire basic understandings of U.S. currency.
Identify things need to do when arrive on campus
Understand the process of getting an Ohio State driver license, and how to buy a
car in the U.S.
Understand how phone services work in the U.S.
Writing an envelope appropriately and correctly

Learning Task Map (LTM)







Descriptive Paper 9
Task-Objective-Assessment Item Blueprint (TOAB)

Learning Task Item
and Number
Objectives Outcome
Level
Assessment
Item

Making a Successful Transition to The
University of Akron as an International
Student (Derived from goal statement)

1.0 Evaluate housing options to make
informed decisions
Evaluation

Discussion
1.1 Identify temporary housing options Understand Quiz
1.2 Identify off-campus housing options Understand Quiz
1.3 Describe parts of a rental
agreement/lease
Analyze Quiz
1.4 Distinguish between on-campus
housing and off-campus housing
Analyze Quiz
2.0 Recognize important events and
places in Akron
Understand Discussion/Quiz
2.1 Identify important events in the
history of Akron
Remember Quiz
2.2 Interpret the meaning of symbols that
are important to Akron
Analyze Quiz
2.3 Identify popular attractions,
museums, entertainment venues in the
Akron area, and annual events that take
place in Akron
Remember Discussion/Quiz
2.4 Determine what attractions or events
would be of most interest to you once
you arrive in the United States
Evaluate Discussion
2.5 Recognize the important geographic
features of Akron and Ohio
Remember Quiz
Descriptive Paper 10
3.0 Develop basic academic language
skills and understand culture shock
Apply Discussion/Quiz
3.1 Familiarize yourself with some
conversational topics
Understand Quiz
3.2 Identify five stages of culture shock,
and.
Understand/apply Discussion/Quiz
3.3 Understand how to fight culture
shock
Understand/apply Discussion/Quiz
4.0 Acquire entry skills to successfully
adapt into live in the U.S.
Apply Discussion/Quiz
4.1 Evaluate different shopping center
and make decision on the locations to
shop different things.
Evaluate Quiz
4.2 Identity the places where you can
shop for food, home, school supplies, etc.
Remember Quiz
4.3 Identify bank options available to
open a bank account near campus.
Remember Quiz
4.4 Distinguish difference between a
credit and a debit card, and understand
the importance of having a credit card in
the U.S.
Understand Quiz
4.5 Acquire basic understandings of the
U.S. currency.
Analyze Quiz
4.6 Identify things need to do when
arrive on campus
Remember Quiz/Discussion
4.7 Understand the process of getting a
Ohio State driver license, and how to buy
a car in the U.S.
Remember Quiz
4.8 Understand how phone services work
in the U.S.
Understand Quiz
4.9 Writing an envelope appropriately
and correctly
Apply Quiz



Descriptive Paper 11
Alignment between Learning Objectives and Assessment
Since the objectives for this WBLS are mostly at the lower levels of Bloom's Taxonomy
and the users of the WBLS would be using the website in different international countries in
different time zones, we have chosen assessment tools that allow learners to participate in
asynchronous communication to share what they have learned and self-check their knowledge.
Since one of the goals of this WBLS is to develop a community of learners of international
students around the world, discussions would help the users build trust and would help
communicate what they are learning with a larger audience. Discussions could also help the
Office of International Programs determine what topics are learning well and what topics are
giving students difficulty learning. Since another goal of this WBLS is to have learners be able to
check their knowledge, quizzes with immediate feedback would fulfill this purpose. Learners
would be able to go back and review ideas and concepts as many times as they want after taking
the lesson quizzes. Since the activities in this WBLS would mostly be done independently
(except for discussions), having self-check quizzes as an assessment tool would allow learners to
complete activities at their own pace without having to wait for other students.

Evaluation Plan
Formative Evaluation Plan
A. General Information
The purpose of this formative evaluation plan is to obtain feedback about the strengths
and weaknesses of the WBLS that we are creating for the Office of International Programs at
The University of Akron. This feedback will help us make improvements and changes to the
WBLS to meet the specific needs of the incoming international students who will be using this
WBLS before coming to the United States. In this plan, we will need to determine the
effectiveness of the WBLS to help students master the learning goals and objectives for the
website, the efficiency of the WBLS to provide learning with self-paced learning in a timely and
convenient manner, and the appeal of the WBLS to attract learners attention and interest and
keep their level of motivation high while completing all of the instructional tasks. We will also
need to determine the ease of which the learners can use the WBLS and navigate around the
website. Since the WBLS will be designed to be used by international students from many
countries, we will also have to evaluate whether or not the text, images, and visual design
elements featured on the website can be easily understood by all of the learners. In addition, we
will also evaluate if the WBLS meets the organizational needs and goals of the Office of
International Programs and how the site fits into their existing orientation programs. Here is a
chart summarizing the evaluation criteria and describing how we could collect data during the
evaluation process:
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Evaluation Criteria Explanation Data Sources
Effectiveness Evaluate if learners are able
to complete learning tasks
and master the content

Evaluate if the website meets
the needs of OIP and the
students it serves

Evaluate if the website helps
learners adjust to campus life
or prepare for success
Scores from participant self-
check assessments during
small-group tryout

Questionnaires given to
participants after small group
tryout

Interviews with participants
after small-group tryout
Meetings with subject matter
expert and web design expert
Appeal Evaluate if the site is easily
understood by non-native
English speakers

Evaluate if the content is
interesting for learners

Evaluate if the navigation is
clear and intuitive for learners

Evaluate if the website kept
learners attention
Questionnaires given to
participants after small group
tryout

Observations of the learners
Expert reviews by subject
matter expert

Expert review by web design
expert

Interviews with learners after
small group tryout
Efficiency Evaluate the time that it takes
to deliver web-based learning
Document how long it takes
students to complete learning
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to students


tasks during small-group
tryout

Document how long it takes
to prepare instructional
materials before small-group
tryout

Who are the stakeholders?
The primary stakeholders would be:
1. Nicholas Martin and Sha Li - graduate students who would be responsible for designing,
developing, and implementing the WBLS and conducting the formative evaluation plan
2. Office of International Programs - department on UA campus who would provide support and
assistance for developing our instructional content and materials of the WBLS. They would be
the ultimate place to use this WBLS as a resource when providing assistance to international
students who are new to the United States and the UA campus. Since this WBLS would be used
as part of the welcome materials and orientation program provided by OIP, the office would have
a key interest in the successful implementation of the WBLS.
3. Jessica Guy - Coordinator of International Academic & Co-Curricular Programming at Office of
International Programs. Ms. Guy is responsible for the orientation programs new international
students attend at the start of each semester. Since we hope that this WBLS will be used by
students before arriving in the United States (or as part of the late orientation program for
students who are unable to attend the regular two-day orientation on campus), she would have a
key interest in this WBLS. She would also serve as a subject matter expert (SME).
4. Patty Eaglewolf - Administrative Assistant at the Office of International Programs. Ms.
Eaglewolf is responsible for assisting in the implementation of the orientation programs for new
international students and mailing out information before students arrive. Ms. Eaglewolf has
provided the graduate students with all of the current orientation materials and welcome
information that are used by the office. Since she is familiar with the arrival process for new
international students and what information is covered during orientation, she would also serve
as a subject matter expert (SME).
5. Future students who complete the orientation programs from the Office of International
Programs. These students would be involved in the summative evaluation process.
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The secondary stakeholders would be:
1. Debora Rozner - Instructor in the English Language Institute (ELI). Ms. Rozner would serve as
a subject matter expert (SME) and would be responsible for reviewing the instructional content
of the WBLS, as well as the level of language difficulty, and providing feedback to the graduate
students. Perhaps this WBLS could be used by students who in the ELI program as a resource to
learn more about the university and campus life.
2. Nick Prokup - the webmaster in the English Language Institute who would serve as the web
design expert and would be responsible for reviewing the ease of use of the WBLS including the
overall navigation structure and the user interface
3. Students in the English Language Institute - participants who could be used to conduct field
usability testing for the WBLS
4. Dr. I-Chun Tsai - instructor of the Web-Based Learning Systems course who will give feedback
to the graduate students as they complete assignments and make progress developing the WBLS
5. Any other departments or offices at The University of Akron who would be interested in using
the site
What is being evaluated?
During the formative evaluation process, we will be examining the instructional content
and materials, teaching and learning strategies, and technological features of the WBLS that we
are creating. We will also be examining how well the learners are able to successfully complete
the learning tasks, how well learners can easily read the text and other visual design and
multimedia elements, and the tools that will be used to assess if the learners have met the
learning objectives. We will also be examining the design process to determine if this WBLS
meets the needs of the organization (Office of International Programs) and potential learners for
which this is being designed. In addition, we will evaluate how well participants in our field
testing interact with the content, the website, and possibly other learners. Here is a chart that
summarizes the list of materials that will be evaluated during our formative evaluation process:
B. List of Materials


Content of WBLS
Learning objectives
Learning tasks
Assessment tools
Instructional materials
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Multimedia development
Use of language

Pedagogy of WBLS
Teaching strategies
Learning strategies
Motivational strategies
Student interactions


Technology of WBLS
User interface
Navigational features
Visual design features
Possible features that help learners translate
text into native language

Who are the evaluators and reviewers?
Our formative evaluation plan will involve conducting tests of the WBLS with a sample group of
learners who represent the target audience and having the WBLS reviewed by multiple content
experts, web design experts, and potential users. Here is a revised list of experts and participants
that we will use to carry out this formative evaluation plan:
Subject Matter Experts Jessica Guy, Coordinator of International
Academic & Co-Curricular Programming at
Office of International Programs

Debbie Rozner, ESL Instructor for the English
Language Institute.

Patty Eaglewolf, Administrative Secretary at
the Office of International Programs
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Other Staff in Office of International
Programs
Web Design Experts

Nick Prokup, Webmaster at English Language
Institute
Haitao Zhao, Webmaster and Graduate
Assistant at Office of International Programs
Potential Users Three international students studying at the
University of Akron:
Piya Chatterjee, a doctoral student
from India, majoring in Special
Education at the University of Akron..
She has been studying at UA for 8
months, and she is also a teaching
assistant in College of Education.
Wenwen Guo, a graduate student from
China, majoring in Higher Education
Administration at the University of
Akron. She has been studying at UA
for 8 months.
Faisal Meshal, a graduate student from
Saudi Arabia. His major is
Engineering. He has been studying at
the University of Akron for 1 year.
Field Test Participants Current international students who are
attending The University of Akron that are
known by the graduate students
Students who are asked to participate from the
Office of International Programs
Students in the English Language Institute -
participants who could be used to conduct
field usability testing for the WBLS (would
need approval from Institutional Review
Board)
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Future international students who complete
the orientation programs from Office of
International Programs

What are the evaluation methods?
The evaluation methods for this WBLS will include reviews by experts and potential users,
interviews and questionnaires, and observations of students as they interact with the WBLS. The
graduate students will send out questionnaires by e-mail (or set up meetings if time permits) to
Ms. Guy, Ms. Eaglewolf, Ms. Rozner, Mr. Prokup, and Mr. Zhao to review the content and web
design of the prototype that will be developed. Potential users would also be sent a questionnaire
by e-mail to review the WBLS and provide feedback to the two developers. The developers and
the reviewers would be able to address any questions or concerns that arise as a result of the data
collected with the questionnaires. Once the WBLS is ready to evaluated by students, the graduate
students will develop questions and instructional scenarios that will be given to the participants
in our sample group. Students who participate in the evaluation could be international students
who have been studying at UA for less than one year because they probably still have fresh
memory about their experiences when they first came to the U.S. and are still familiar with the
content that was covered during orientation. The sample group of students for field testing could
be selected by the two developers, OIP, or ELI. The graduate students will observe as many
students as possible using and interacting with the content in the WBLS in order to determine the
areas that the learners experienced success or experienced difficulties with the instruction in the
WBLS or the technology used to deliver it. Preferably, field testing will take place as a small-
group tryout in a computer lab on campus. It could be the Zook 328 computer lab. The computer
lab will be reserved once the testing time is confirmed with OIP, ELI, or the students themselves.
If a computer lab cannot be reserved, field testing could take place anywhere else on campus as
long as students have laptops and wireless Internet is available. It is estimated that evaluation
will take place in early April in order to have enough time to modify this WBLS according to the
feedback of the evaluation before this project is due at the end of April. Depending on the
scheduling, it is possible that more than one small group tryout will be conducted.





Descriptive Paper 18
C. Table of Types of Methods and Tools for Formative Evaluation
Evaluation Criteria Specific Questions Methods and Tools
Effectiveness
Goals







Content








Technology




Are the goals and objectives
clearly written and specific?
Are the goals and objectives
measurable?
Are the goals and objectives
achievable for international
students or non-native English
speakers?
Are the goals and objectives
appropriate for WBI?
Does the content match the
goals and objectives?
Do the instructional materials
cover the content completely?
Will the content help learners
achieve the goals/objectives?
Do assessments match the
goals and objectives?
Is the content at the
appropriate language level?

Does the website work
properly?
Were the instructional
materials easy to access?

Reviews by SME and web
design expert
Participant surveys after the
small-group tryouts
Interviews with OIP or ELI




Reviews by SME and web
design expert
Observations during small
group tryouts
Participant surveys after the
small group tryouts
Data from any assessments
students complete during
small-group tryouts
Interviews with OIP or ELI

Reviews by SME and web
design expert
Observations during small
group tryouts
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Message Design

Are copyright laws followed?

Is the website appropriate for
the content and learners?
Can learners interact with the

Is the website appropriate for
the content and learners?
Can learners interact with the
instructor or other learners?
Do images, audio, and video
enhance learning or distract
from it?
Are the directions clear and in
the correct sequence?
Participant surveys after
small group tryouts

Reviews by SME and web
design expert
Observations during small
group tryouts
Participant surveys after

Reviews by SME and web
design expert
Observations during small
group tryouts
Participant surveys after
small group tryouts
Appeal

Goals



Content






Can learners relate to the
goals and objectives?


Is the content interesting to
the learners and keep their
attention?
Are examples relevant to the
learners?




Reviews by SME
Participant surveys after
small group tryouts

Reviews by SME and web
design expert
Observations during small
group tryout
Participant surveys after
small group tryouts
Descriptive Paper 20

Technology



Message design

Is the navigation easy for the
learners?
Are there any typing errors
(spelling, grammar, etc.)?

Is the vocabulary appropriate
for international students?
Are colors and fonts used
appropriately to enhance
learning?
Is the navigation easy to use?
Do images, audio, and video
support learning?
Do the screen layouts support
learning and goals?

Observations during small
group tryouts
Interviews with OIP or ELI


Reviews by SME and web
design expert
Observations during small
group tryouts
Interviews with OIP or ELI
Participant surveys after
small group tryouts



Efficiency
Goals

Content


Technology

Message Design

Are the goals and objectives
clear and concise?
Is the information clearly
presented?
Is the information up-to-date
and current?
Does the website function
efficiently?
Is the organization and the
structure clear for learners?

Reviews by SME and web
design expert
Observations during small
group tryouts
Participant surveys after
small group tryouts


Descriptive Paper 21
Summative Evaluation Plan

General Evaluation Information

The purpose of this revised summative evaluation plan is to determine the overall learning value
and outcome for new international students at UA. If it adds learning value, then it should stay
as it is currently designed and implemented. If it does not add learning value, then it needs to be
modified to meet the needs of the learners and OIP. The summative evaluation could be done
after the WBLS is implemented and has been used by incoming international students at the
University of Akron for a specified period of time. The summative evaluation would take place
after the Office of International Programs has used it for their orientation program for new
international students. The earliest that the summative evaluation could take place would be in
Fall 2014 if the Office of International Programs decides to send this website to international
students this summer. However, it is more likely that the summative evaluation will take place
after the Office of International Programs has implemented the website for several semesters and
new international students have used it several times. Since the two designers and developers of
the WBLS will have likely graduated before the summative evaluation takes place, it will have to
be conducted by the Office of International Programs or any other departments that want to use
this website.
The instructional goal at the end of the WBLS is to have the learners develop basic knowledge
and practical skills to adjust to being a new student at The University of Akron, finding housing
that meets students needs, developing communication skills, dealing with culture shock, and
living in the United States. Learners will be able to apply what they have learned from using the
WBLS to real life after they come to the United States and succeed as a student.

The participants of the summative evaluation will involve the Office of International Programs at
the University of Akron, which has the closest connection with new and current international
students and know the needs of international students the most. During the summative
evaluation, the evaluators would include those international students who would be using this
WBLS. The Office of International Programs would provide an online survey or questionnaire
for the international students to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the WBLS and how it
helped them learn about housing and the local area and adjust to living in the United States. This
survey could be created using Qualtrics, which is a free survey creation tool that is available to
all faculty and staff at The University of Akron. A link could be sent to international students by
e-mail. The survey would also ask learners about how well they were able to complete the
learning tasks in the WBLS and used the knowledge as a student. This would help the Office of
International Programs determine if the design and content of the WBLS meets students needs
and determine what needs to be modified or improved in the future. The Office of International
Programs could also conduct interviews or small group meetings with international students who
use the WBLS as other methods of summative evaluation. In addition, as changes are made to
the WBLS, the office could invite international students to re-evaluate the website once they
have lived in the United States and attended classes at the university for a longer period of
time. The students might be able to suggest new ideas or information that could be added based
on their experiences.


Descriptive Paper 22
The materials to be evaluated include

Learning objectives
Learning tasks for each lesson
Instructions to complete each of the learning tasks
Discussion questions for each lesson
Quizzes and other assessment methods
Accuracy and enjoyment of the content
User interface
Navigation features
Visual design features
Details for the Main Steps of the Summative Evaluation

The stakeholders for this evaluation are incoming international students, current international
students, and staff in the Office of International Programs.
What is being evaluated?
What percentage of incoming international students use the WBLS?
Have the instructional goals and learning objectives been met?
Do learners believe this WBLS is worth using?
Are the stakeholders including learners and staff in the Office of International
Programs satisfied with the learning outcomes of this WBLS?
Does the WBLS appeal to international students so OIP will introduce it to more
students?
Was the WBLS an efficient method for learning?
Do learners think the content is interesting?
Do learners actively participate in discussions?
Will learners introduce this WBLS to other international students?
What are the evaluation methods and tools?
Discussion posts that students make to the WBLS
Online survey for learners (incoming international students)
Online survey or interviews with Office of International Programs staff
Online survey or interview with current international students
Interview or small group meeting with staff in Office of International Programs
How will data be collected and analyzed?
Responses to surveys will be collected and analyzed using Qualtrics or other
survey tool
Interviews and small group meetings will be recorded and then transcribed
Learners will reflect on their performance on learning activities when completing
surveys
How are the data analyzed and reported?
Data will be analyzed based on 3 categories: effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal
of the WBLS.
The Office of International Programs can create and print reports from Qualtrics
or the survey tool that is ultimately used.
The results will be written into a report by the Office of International Programs
and sent to other departments who might be interested in using the WBLS.
Descriptive Paper 23

It is very likely that most of the data collection and analysis would be completed after the two
WBLS designers and developers have graduated. Therefore, the data collection and analysis
process would have to be coordinated by the Office of International Programs and/or other
departments at the university that choose to use this website.

A Table of Planning for Summative Evaluation:

Evaluation
Criteria
Main Questions Data Sources
Effectiveness What percentage of incoming international
students use the WBLS?

Have the instructional goals and learning
objectives been met?

Do learners believe this WBLS is worth
using?

Are the stakeholders including learners and
staff in the Office of International Programs
satisfied with the learning outcomes of this
WBLS?

Was the WBLS an efficient method for
learning?

Does this WBLS meet the programming
needs of OIP?

Did learners participate in the discussions?
Results from online surveys
(Qualtrics) after students
have used the WBLS

Student performance on the
learning activities (as
reported in the online
surveys)

Online surveys or interviews
with current international
students

Interviews or meetings
among Office of International
Programs staff

Efficiency Was the WBLS an efficient method for
learning?

How long did the learners participate in this
WBLS per lesson or activity?
Results from online surveys
(Qualtrics) after students
have used the WBLS

Time spent using the WBLS
(as reported in online survey)

Interviews with current
international students &
Office of International
Programs
Appeal Will learners introduce this WBLS to other Results from online surveys
Descriptive Paper 24
international students?

Do learners think this WBLS interface
design is appealing to them?

Do learners think the content is interesting?
(Qualtrics) after students
have used the WBLS

Interviews with current
international students &
Office of International
Programs


Questions to be Included in Online Survey for Students

Effectiveness
Was the language used on the website easy to understand? Explain why or why not.
Were the learning objectives clear and easy to understand? Explain why or why not.
Does the website cover appropriate topics that you are expecting to learn? Explain why or why
not.
What content or instructional materials were the most helpful and interesting to you? Explain
why these materials were helpful and interesting.
Does the website establish a sense of collaborative learning environment? Explain why or why
not.
Did the learning activities help you reach the objectives stated at the beginning of the
lessons? Please explain why or why not.
What did you want to learn the most by using the website?
What was the most useful lesson on the website? Explain why.
Did this website prepare you well as a new international student at The University of Akron? If
so, please explain how this website prepared you as a new international student.

Efficiency
Did all the links on the web pages operate correctly? Were you able to access to all materials?
How much time did you spend using the website?
What parts of the website did you spent the most time using? Please explain why.
What parts of the website did you not spent a lot of time using? Please explain why.
Were there any parts of the website that were confusing or difficult to understand how to
use? Please tell which parts those were and why there were confusing or difficult.

Appeal
How do you like the overall design of the website? Is the website appealing to you? Are the
pages comfortable to use?
Are the web pages easy to interpret and navigate? Explain why or why not.
Do you think the content is interesting? Which parts of the website are most interesting to
you?
Would you introduce this website to other international students? Explain why or why not.
What was your overall impression of the website and its usefulness for learning?
What suggestions for improvement do you have for this website?
Descriptive Paper 25
Instructional Strategy Plan
Orientation to Learning Instructional Strategies
1. Provide an overview Learners will be introduced to the WBLS by
the following:
A welcome statement that congratulates
students on receiving admission offers from
UA and thanks students for choosing UA
After the welcoming statement, learners will
be invited to take a picture walk through a
gallery of current UA international students
and campus life, so learners feel a cultural
connection with students on campus
Introduction to the WBLS that provides the
learners with scenarios and objectives
Short overview of the content for the units is
provided after the main learning objectives
are presented (this could be done with a
graphic organizer or concept map)
Short audio clips or video clips about UA to
attract learner interest
Photos of the WBLS designers and OIP staff
for the site
2. State the objectives Objectives could be provided to the learners
as a list at the beginning of each module or as
short audio clips
List of questions that could be answered by
using the WBLS and performance outcomes
3. Explain relevance of instruction Provide examples of scenarios that learners
could experience as new UA students
Tell stories from current international students
that illustrate how the instruction can help
learners as future UA students
Present problems that learners could solve
Descriptive Paper 26
using content available on the website
4. Assist learner recall of prior knowledge,
skills, and experiences
Ask learners to recall previous experiences
visiting new or unfamiliar places using a
discussion board
Participants are to share a brief biography so
they can get to know each other and share
thoughts, concerns, or feelings about coming
to UA
Have learners take a short pre-test to find out
what they already know about UA and Akron
5. Provide directions on how to start, navigate,
and proceed through the unit of instruction
Provide learners with directions about using
the menu along the side of the website to
navigate between the different modules
Provide clear directions on the home page that
tell learners that they can complete the units in
any order they want using the menu along the
side of the website
Provide a sitemap for learners
Have an e-mail link for learners to contact the
OIP with questions about the WBLS
Instruction on the Content Instructional Strategies
1. Present instructional content Direct instruction using text, presentations,
images, audio, and video
Elaborate on content by using more images
instead of text, since learners are non-native
English speakers
Present content in short paragraphs or lists, so
learners are not overwhelmed with reading
long paragraphs of text
Present content in Q&A format for learners
Present problems that learners could solve
using content available on the website
Descriptive Paper 27
Links to resources available for international
students on campus
Link to online discussion board for learners to
share ideas and knowledge (e.g. BoardHost)
2. Provide learning cues Provide an advance organizer at the beginning
of each lesson or unit to introduce key topics
Give learners a list of questions that could be
downloaded to printed out to use as guides
during each lesson or unit
Use images to illustrate examples and guide
learners through the WBI
Bold or italicize important information on site
Use embedded PowerPoint or Google Drive
presentations to break large amounts of text
into smaller parts
Embed multimedia presentations into website,
so learners can navigate forwards and
backwards through content
Have captions under each image to help
learners recognize what the image is showing
Only use underlining for hyperlinks
Use of white background and white space
within pages to make content more readable
Use the same color scheme across all pages
Connect new information to prior knowledge
of the learners
3. Present opportunities to practice Practice activities by self-check assessment
(e.g. Jeopardy games, reflections, or journals)
Online games where learners could compete
against each other to earn high scores
Share ideas or questions using discussions
Participate in scheduled live chats if learners
Descriptive Paper 28
are available to attend
Question and answer (Q&A) sessions in the
threaded discussions or live chat
Learners could create word clouds or digital
collages using images or words about UA
(e.g. Tagxedo, Padlet, or Glogster)
4. Provide feedback on practice performance Learners receive immediate feedback during
or after self-check assessments or online
games
Specific questions will be addressed via email
by OIP
OIP staff reviews reflections/journals
submitted in discussions and/or document
sharing and returns feedback
Peer review via scheduled live chat (optional)
or threaded discussions
5. Provide review of and close the unit of
instruction
Instructors create summaries that highlight the
main points and learning activities at the end
of each lesson or unit
Instructors summarize discussions that take
place during the lesson or unit
Lesson or unit ends with preview of additional
topics or tasks to be completed (could be done
using text, audio, or video)
Measurement of Learning Instructional Strategies
1. Assess performance Use quizzes with multiple choice, true-false
questions at the end of each module (quizzes
made using PowerPoint or Jeopardy games)
Use checklists for learners to track progress
through the modules, lessons, or units (lists of
questions that learners could answer using the
content)
Descriptive Paper 29
2. Advise learner of performance scores Learners will receive immediate feedback
about whether or not their answers are correct
(hyperlinks within PowerPoint slides)
OIP staff could use e-mail or discussions to
communicate with learners about progress
Summary and Close
1. Enhance and enrich learning Encourage learners to volunteer in this WBLS
to share their experiences regarding how to
successfully adapt to their new lives at UA to
help new incoming students
Threaded discussions
Scheduled live chats
Encourage students who are native speakers to
participate in discussion and make friends
with new international students.
Encourage learners to share word clouds or
digital collages with peers using e-mail links
or posting links within discussions
Learners could also collaborate to
create larger word clouds or collages

Encourage students to contact departments on
campus if they have additional questions
Encourage learners to continue to keep in
touch with their learning community after
they arrive at UA.
Encourage students to contact associations of
their countries and participate in various
activities for international students organized
by OIP, ELI, or other groups
2. Provide remediation for unmet objectives Provide learners with contact information of
OIP staff to help with unanswered questions
Provide learners with contact information for
offices/departments on and off campus that
could help
Descriptive Paper 30
3. Provide opportunities for retention Identify the next steps in the process of being
a UA student (completing required documents
for immigration purposes, securing plane
tickets, registering for classes, getting a Zip
Card, etc.)
Learners will be encouraged to keep in touch
with other international students through the
online discussion board before their arrival at
UA
Learners could be provided materials that
could be downloaded or printed for offline use
as a reference
Thank the learners for participating in WBLS

Task Analysis Report
Initial Task List
Using this WBLS, learners should be able to...
System Access/Awareness
Access the WBLS using a direct link
Recognize the purpose and objectives of the WBLS
Be aware of how the WBLS is structured
Be aware of how to navigate the WBLS
Be aware of when they have already visited a page or opened a link
Get updates about important deadlines, events, things to know, etc.
Search the WBLS for information about a topic
Descriptive Paper 31
Know where to get help
Connect with UA or OIP in a live format
Learning Materials
Click on a hyperlink and open a file/document
Control navigation of presentations
Interact with content while viewing external websites
Control volume of audio or video
Control size of multimedia files (presentations, audio, video, etc.)
Be able to control playback of videos (pause, rewind, fast forward, etc.)
Download files from content resources
Record and/or upload their own audio or video files
Discussions
Locate discussions within the WBLS
Create username and password to participate in discussions
Read previous discussion posts
Write and submit new discussion posts
Write and submit replies to other discussion posts
Use proper English and proper digital etiquette in discussion and live chat
Descriptive Paper 32
Have a partner to discuss or share ideas
Assessments
Self-check understanding after viewing content
Get immediate feedback on lesson quizzes
Ability to retake assessments to achieve mastery
Listen to audio or watch video while taking assessments
Retention of Information
Have access to additional content for offline use
Explore additional online resources
Recall or summarize important ideas or concepts
Build social networks to improve understanding
Reflect on new ideas and concepts

Initial Functional Requirements List
Task Functional Requirement
System Access/Awareness
Access the WBLS using a direct link URL needs to be active
Recognize the purpose and objectives of the
WBLS
Purpose and objectives of WBLS will be
posted on home page
Descriptive Paper 33
Be aware of how the WBLS is structured Provide clear labels for sections of WBLS

Have consistent fonts and color scheme across
all pages

Visual representation of the structure of the
WBLS
Be aware of how to navigate the WBLS Horizontal and/or vertical navigation menus
that appear on all pages

Visual representation of site navigation (tree)
Be aware of when they have already visited a
page or opened a link
Make visited links a different color than links
that have not been visited
Get updates about deadlines, events, things to
know, etc.
Pages should be able to be edited easily by
instructor without affecting navigation of
entire site

Embed real-time news feeds (e.g. Twitter
feed)
Search for information about a topic Include a Search box on all pages
Know where to get help Link to Help page

Link to FAQ page

Link to e-mail OIP staff/site administrator
Connect with UA or OIP in a live format Web conferencing tools (e.g. Collaborate)
Descriptive Paper 34
Learning Materials
Click on a hyperlink and open a file/document Make sure that hyperlinks work and point to
the requested file/document
Control navigation of presentations Embed presentations with viewing windows
that have forwards and backwards buttons
Interact with content while viewing external
websites
Add links that open in new windows
Control volume of audio or video Embed audio or video files that have volume
controls
Control size of multimedia files (e.g enlarge
presentations or video)
Embed multimedia files that allow users to
enlarge or minimize content if desired
Be able to control playback of videos (pause,
rewind, fast forward, etc.)
Embed video files that have playback controls
(e.g. play, pause, full screen options)
Download files from content resources Provide files that are in standardized formats
(PDF, Word, PowerPoint, HTML, etc.)
Post learning materials that could be
downloaded or printed out
Record and/or upload their own audio or
video files
Provide links to audio or video recording
software
Discussions
Locate discussions within the WBLS Link to external discussions site from home
page
Link to discussions in horizontal or vertical
navigation menus
Link to discussions from lesson pages
Create username and password to participate Link to registration page for external
Descriptive Paper 35
in discussions discussions site
Read previous discussion posts Viewing window needs to be large enough to
read entire post
Font should be large enough to read posts
Write and submit new discussion posts Text window with formatting options (e.g.
bold, italics, underline, lists)

Provide directions if students need help
Write and submit replies to other posts Text window with formatting options (e.g.
bold, italics, underline, lists)
Provide directions if students need help
Make sure that replies thread to original topic
Use proper English and proper digital
etiquette in discussion and live chat
Have a spell check feature in discussions
Set clear expectations for digital etiquette
Remove students from discussions for not
following proper digital etiquette (would be
done by the discussion board administrator)
Have a partner to discuss and share ideas Provide private discussion forums for partners
Assessments
Self-check knowledge after viewing content Provide list of review questions
Get immediate feedback on lesson quizzes Embedded quizzes that give students
immediate feedback
Ability to retake assessments to achieve
mastery
Provide unlimited access to retake
assessments by not locking students out of
future attempts
Descriptive Paper 36
Listen to audio or watch video while taking
assessments
Add audio files or video clips within
assessments
Retention of Information
Have access to additional content for offline
use
Post materials that could be downloaded or
printed out
Explore additional online resources Provide direct links to external websites that
are relevant to content
Recall or summarize important ideas or
concepts
Provide summaries or lists of key points at the
end of each lesson
Build social networks to improve
understanding
Live text, audio, or video chats
Reflect on new ideas and concepts Link to external wiki or blog for students to
write reflections

Prioritized Task List
* Core Tasks
# Important Tasks
- Nice to Have Tasks
System Access/Awareness
* Access the WBLS using a direct link
* Recognize the purpose and objectives of the WBLS
* Be aware of how the WBLS is structured
* Be aware of how to navigate the WBLS
Descriptive Paper 37
* Know where to get help
# Be aware of when they have already visited a page or opened a link
# Get updates about important deadlines, events, things to know, etc.
- Connect with UA or OIP in a live format
- Search the WBLS for information about a topic
Learning Materials
* Click on a hyperlink and open a file/document
* Control navigation of presentations
* Interact with content while viewing external websites
# Download or print out files from content resources
# Control volume of audio or video
# Control size of multimedia files (e.g. enlarge presentations or videos)
# Be able to control playback of videos (pause, rewind, fast forward, etc.)
- Record and/or upload their own audio or video files
Discussions
* Locate discussions within the WBLS
* Read previous discussion posts
* Create username and password to participate in discussions
Descriptive Paper 38
* Write and submit new discussion posts
* Write and submit replies to other discussion posts
# Use proper English and proper digital etiquette in discussion and live chat
- Have a partner to discuss or share ideas
Assessments
* Self-check understanding after viewing content
* Get immediate feedback on lesson quizzes
# Ability to retake assessments to achieve mastery
- Listen to audio or watch video while taking assessments
Retention of Information
* Have access to additional content for offline use
* Explore additional online resources
# Recall or summarize important ideas or concepts
- Build social networks to improve understanding
- Reflect on new ideas or concepts

Prioritized Functional Requirements List
* Core Requirements
# Important Requirements
- Nice to Have Requirements
Descriptive Paper 39
System Access/Awareness
* URL needs to be active
* Purpose and objectives of WBLS will be posted on home page
* Provide clear labels for sections of WBLS
* Have consistent fonts and color scheme across all pages
* Horizontal and/or vertical navigation menus that appear on all pages
* Pages should be able to be edited easily by instructor without affecting navigation of entire
Site
* Link to Help page
* Link to FAQ page
* Link to e-mail OIP staff/site administrator
# Visual representation of the structure of the WBLS
# Visual representation of site navigation (navigation tree)
# Make visited links a different color than links that have not been visited
- Embed real-time news feeds (e.g. Twitter feed)
- Include a Search box on all pages
- Web conferencing tools (e.g. Collaborate)
Learning Materials
Descriptive Paper 40
* Make sure that hyperlinks work and point to the requested file/document
* Embed presentations with viewing windows that have forwards and backwards buttons
* Add links that open in new windows
* Provide files that are in standardized formats (PDF, Word, PowerPoint, HTML, etc.)
* Post learning materials that could be downloaded or printed out
# Embed audio or video files that have volume controls
# Embed multimedia files that allow users to enlarge or minimize content if desired
# Embed video files that have playback controls (e.g. play, pause, full screen options)
- Provide links to audio or video recording software
Discussions
* Link to external discussions site from home page
* Link to discussions in horizontal or vertical navigation menus
* Link to registration page for external discussions site
* Viewing window needs to be large enough to read entire post
* Font should be large enough to read post
* Make sure that replies thread to original topic
# Provide directions if students need help
# Set clear expectations for digital etiquette
Descriptive Paper 41
- Link to discussions from lesson pages
- Text window with formatting options (e.g. bold, italics, underline, lists)
- Have a spell check feature in discussions
- Remove students from discussions for not following proper digital etiquette (would be done
by the discussion board administrator)
- Provide private discussion forums for partners
Assessments
* Provide list of review questions
* Embed quizzes that give students immediate feedback
# Provide unlimited access to retake assessments by not locking students out of future attempts
- Add audio files or video clips within assessments
Retention of Information
* Post materials that could be downloaded or printed out
* Provide direct links to external websites that are relevant to content
# Provide summaries or lists of key points at the end of each lesson
- Live text, audio, or video chats
- Link to external wiki or blog for students to write reflections



Descriptive Paper 42

Task Flow Diagram









Descriptive Paper 43
Scenarios

Scenario 1: The faster individual learner

Ting is a Chinese student who just graduated from a high school from a small town in
China. She has a low score on the TOEFL test, so she has a lower English proficiency. She is
also busy getting ready to come to the United States, but feels anxious about leaving China to
come to a foreign country. She just received her admission letter from The University of
Akron. She only has a short period of time to gather the necessary documentation to request a
visa at the American embassy, book a flight to the United States, and look for housing once she
arrives. Ting wants to be better prepared to come to the United States, but she doesnt have the
time to research a lot of information. Due to the time difference, she doesnt have time to contact
OIP during business hours, so she needs to ask questions by e-mail. She is also unsure about
coming to The University of Akron, because she has received admission letters from several
other colleges and universities in the United States.

Once she opens up the website, she can choose what she wants to learn about. She reads
the overview of the website. Then she can start with the lesson that shes most interested in
learning about. She likes self-paced learning tasks. Since she doesnt have a lot of time, she just
wants the important information about what to know and what is important to her. Since her
English abilities are at the lower proficiency level, she wants to know more about language and
culture in order not to feel embarrassed speaking with Americans when she comes to the United
States.

She views the homepage to read the overview of the course, watches the introduction
video about UA, and looks at other information that might help her gain a better understanding
about the site, such as the sitemap, site navigation explanation, etc. After viewing the homepage,
she goes directly to the lesson on Language and Culture. She looks over the learning objectives
for the lesson, clicks on the content links for the presentations and audio/video clips, reads over
the directions explaining how to register for the discussion forum or participate in the live
chatting program, and reads how to complete the self-checking assessment for the lesson. After
gaining an overall understanding of the lesson assignments and expectations, Ting also
downloads any learning materials from the lesson that can be studied independently, such as a
PowerPoint, summary of key points, etc., and prints them out at home. She can study these
materials on her break or while she is traveling by high-speed train to the Beijing American
Embassy to get her visa without having an Internet connection.

After Ting reads and studies the content materials, she logs into the discussion board and
writes her initial post answering the questions that are listed. She has limited time to get access
to the Internet and read peoples postings, so she will give her feedback at a time when there are
enough to read and choose from. She posts her initial posts in the beginning of the week, and
returns to the discussion board at the end of the week to post replies for the lesson about
language and culture. She does the self-check quiz one time, and her grade is all right, but she
does not achieve mastery. She reads over the mistakes in the quiz, but does not retake it in order
to reach mastery. Due to the time difference between China and the U.S., she does not have too
much time interacting with American students and OIP faculty in discussion or live chat for
Descriptive Paper 44
further and deeper communication. Therefore, she uses the e-mail link that is on the homepage of
the website to contact OIP with questions she has. She spent approximately five hours
performing coursework and meeting the lesson expectations. Ting feels good about what she has
learned and becomes a little bit more confident about her social language skills. After using this
website, Ting decides to attend The University of Akron and turn down the admission offers
from other colleges and universities. As a result of her learning from this website, Ting thought
that this WBLS was very beneficial and prepared her well enough to come to study at The
University of Akron.

Scenario 2: The family man and collaborative learner

Mohammed is a 30 year old graduate student from Saudi Arabia who has been accepted
to The University of Akron to continue his professional studies. He is married with a wife and
one young son who is four years old. For his job at a university in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi
Arabia, he reads a lot of materials that are written in English and has taken classes at the
university to learn how to read English. However, he speaks entirely in Arabic when he is home
with his wife and family, since his wife knows very little English and his son is barely old
enough to talk. His proficiency in reading English is much stronger than his oral speaking
proficiency. Therefore, Mohammed prefers to write in English rather than communicate
orally. However, he is looking forward to coming to the United States to improve his oral
speaking abilities.

Since Mohammed plans to enter a two-year engineering program, Mohammed will be
bringing his wife and son with him while studying at The University of Akron. He will need to
locate an apartment or a small house here in Akron, and he wants to make sure that he has
housing arrangements made before leaving for the United States. Since his wife will be taking
care of their son while he is working on his studies, Mohammed wants to learn about activities
that are family-friendly that his wife and son could do while living in Akron. As a student in
Saudi Arabia, Mohammed enjoys doing collaborative work with classmates and meeting new
people.

Mohammed receives his admission letter to The University of Akron and the link to the
website. Since his immediate concern is finding housing in Akron for his family, he is
particularly interested in the lesson and materials about housing. He uses the content provided in
the lesson to learn about different options for living on campus or off campus. He also learns
about reading an apartment lease, which is a little different than the lease for his apartment in
Saudi Arabia. He also explores the websites provides which give listings for apartment buildings
around campus. After reviewing the materials, he adds information to a shared document about
an apartment building that he feels would meet the needs of his family. He writes about the
different features of the building that make it appealing to families. He also reads information
posted by other students about other places to live in Akron. After considering his options,
Mohammed decides to contact the apartment building he likes using his cell phone from Saudi
Arabia and learns that there are several apartments that are vacant and available for his family.
Even though his oral English is not strong, Mohammed is able to give the apartment manager
enough information to begin the process of securing a two-bedroom apartment for his family.
Descriptive Paper 45
Mohammed shares his experiences using the discussion board on the website and replies to a
couple of other students, including Ting, a Chinese student, and Raj, a student from India.

Since Mohammed enjoys meeting new people and communicating with others, he writes
a post to the discussion board introducing himself to other international students. He would have
done this first, but his family is very important and he wanted to learn more about the housing
that could be found in Akron first. In his introduction, he tells about his family, his career, and
his personal interests. In addition, Mohammed finds a post from Omar, an undergraduate student
from Saudi Arabia who will also be studying at the University of Akron during the same time as
Mohammed. He replies to his post, sharing how he feels about leaving Saudi Arabia for a while
and moving his family to the United States. These two students share Skype usernames, so they
are able to communicate with each other using video chat outside of the website. During one of
their video chats, Mohammed and Omar discover that they both live in Riyadh about 30 minutes
apart. To further their collaborative efforts, Mohammed and Omar decide to make a short video
to teach others about Saudi Arabia. They upload their video as a file attachment to a new
discussion post, since YouTube is censored by the government in Saudi Arabia.

After securing an apartment for his family in the United States, Mohammed returns to the
website to search for family-friendly activities that his wife and young son could do while living
in Akron. Since the apartment that Mohammed found for his family is near downtown Akron, he
is curious about whether or not there are enough things to do in Akron just like in Riyadh. He
opens up the lesson called All About Akron, which helps learners discover things to do in Akron
and the history of The Rubber City. Mohammed likes that there is a zoo close to downtown, as
well as a public library with computers and programming for young children. Mohammed also
sees that a professional baseball team plays at Canal Park in downtown Akron. He thinks that
baseball looks like the sport of cricket, so it might be fun for his young son to enjoy a baseball
game. Mohammed is also excited that there is a ski resort close to Akron. In Riyadh, there is an
indoor ski resort with manmade snow, since it is too hot to ski outside, and the family also enjoys
traveling to the huge indoor ski resort located in Dubai. Since he enjoys communicating and
sharing ideas with others, he shares these great activities with other students by writing a post in
the discussion forum. He also tells Omar about it during their next Skype chat, and the two of
them decide to get together while they are studying at Akron to do some of these activities
together. He feels more comfortable bringing his family to Akron and has met a new friend who
shares the same religion and culture. As a result of his learning from this website, Mohammed
finds that this WBLS was very beneficial and prepared him well enough to come to study at The
University of Akron.




Descriptive Paper 46
User Interface Specification Report

A. Site Map

B. Activity Guide/Directions
Layers
Every page of the WBLS will have the same template, background colors, font styles,
color scheme, and accessibility options. By having the same design features on every page,
navigation will be easier for the learners. The color scheme will consist of shades of blue, beige,
green, and white. The background color around the perimeter of the website will be navy blue,
since that is a primary color for The University of Akron. The navigation menus will have a
Descriptive Paper 47
beige background with light green text. The main text found on all of the pages will be black on
a white background, so the text is easy to read for all users.
The first layer of navigation will be the Home page, which will contain an introduction to
the website and the different learning tasks. Since learners are not using this WBLS for a
specific course, learners will not have to create a username or password to access this Home
page. There will be a consistent navigation bar across the top of the page that will appear no
matter what page the learners are on within the website. This navigation bar will contain links to
important pages within the website, such as the main lesson pages, discussion page, quizzes page,
and help page. There will also be a separate navigation menu down the left side of the page that
will also appear on all pages within the website. This vertical navigation menu will contain links
to all of the pages within the website, as well as links to additional resources that students can
explore on their own outside of the website. On the Home page, there will also be
announcements for new international students and a calendar of important dates and events. The
only page that will not have the same color scheme, formatting, and navigation is the Boardhost
discussion website, since this is housed externally from the WBLS. On the Home page, there
will also be a link to a discussions launch page with directions for the learners to create a
username and password in order to access and participate in the discussion boards.
The second layer of navigation will consist of the learning materials and tasks that will be
included on the website. Second layer pages will include main lesson pages, sub-lesson pages,
quizzes, and help pages. The main lesson pages will include an introduction to the lesson, a list
of the learning objectives, and links to individual sub-lesson pages. The sub-lesson pages will
contain all of the instructional materials for that topic, including documents, presentations, audio
or video files, and any other materials that will support student learning. Each lesson will have
two or three sub-lesson pages with individual topics related to the lesson. Detailed directions
will be provided that instruct learners how to navigate through presentations, adjust the volume
of a audio or video file, control playback of a audio or video file, and download or print out
documents for offline reading and use.
The third layer of navigation consists of the external discussion website that learners will
use to share ideas and interact with each other from across the globe. This discussion website
provides learners with the chance to participate in asynchronous communication methods as they
learn new ideas about coming to The University of Akron and the United States. Directions for
using the external discussion boards will be provided on the discussions launch page on the
website, as well as posted as a topic in the actual discussion website itself. Therefore, learners
can figure out how to use the discussion boards no matter which website they are using at the
time. Students will use the directions to navigate through the discussion boards and post new
topics or replies to existing topics.

Descriptive Paper 48
Here is a list of sample directions that could be included on each of the main pages in the
WBLS to help students complete tasks and procedures that are involved in the learning process:
Directions for Home Page
To get started using this website, find the lesson that you are most interested in learning about
as an international student at The University of Akron. The lessons can be found across the top
of the page and in the Main Menu along the left hand side of this page. There are four lessons
on this website: Housing, All About Akron, Language and Culture, and College Survival Kit.
Descriptions of these lessons can be found below.
You will also want to introduce yourself to other new international students who will be using
this website. Click on Discussions at the top of the page or along the left hand side. Follow the
directions that are given on that page.
If you have any questions and need to contact the Office of International Programs at The
University of Akron, please e-mail them at oip@uakron.edu.
Directions for Main Lesson Pages
Welcome to the lesson on [insert lesson name]!! In this lesson, you will learn about [insert a
description of lesson here]. There are several topics related to this lesson, and each of these
topics is on a separate page. The list of topics for this lesson can be found at the bottom of the
page. To learn more about one of these topics, click on the link for that topic.
Directions for Topic Pages
Please read and interact with the learning materials that are provided on this page. If you are
viewing a PowerPoint or Google Drive presentation, then you can use the left and right arrows
to move from one slide to the next. If you are viewing a document, then you can use the scroll
bar along the right side of the document to move up and down. If you are watching a YouTube
video, then you can pause the video, adjust the volume, or watch the video in full screen mode
using the options found under the video. If you are listening to an audio clip, then you can pause
the audio or adjust the volume.
If you want to view a Google Drive document or presentation in a new window, then click on
the link that says Open followed by the name of the document or presentation under it.
If you want to download or print a Google Drive presentation, then click on the button that
looks like a wheel under the presentation. This is the Options button. You will be able to print
out the presentation or download it as a PDF file or PowerPoint slide show.
Directions for Discussions Page
This Discussions page will allow you to introduce yourself to other new international students
Descriptive Paper 49
who will be coming to The University of Akron and share ideas about what you are learning.
You can use this page to answer the Discussion questions that are provided at the end of each
lesson, as well as share any other ideas that you feel would be helpful or interesting for others to
know.
If you would like to create a username and password, then click on the Register link in the
Discussions box below. If you need help, you can use the instructions provided in the document
below.
Creating a username and password is not required to use the discussions on this page. When
you post a response, you will be asked to provide your first name and last name as well as type
in a Captcha code to confirm that you are not a robot.
Please Note: Depending on your browser settings, the Discussions box below may appear blank.
This is because the content is blocked. If this happens, then you can change your browser
settings to show this content. However, if you are unable to change your browser settings, you
can access the Discussions by using the following web address:
http://uainternational.boardhost.com
Directions for Quizzes Page
To take a self-check quiz over the lesson you have just completed, find the quiz that matches the
name of the lesson from the group of quizzes on this page. Use the right arrow button at the
bottom of the quiz window to move from one question to the next.
To answer a question, click on the answer choice that you think is the most correct. Then you
will see if your answer is correct or incorrect. If your answer is correct, then you can click on
the right arrow to go on to the next question. If your answer is incorrect, then you will go back
to the previous question and choose a different answer.
The purpose of these quizzes is to help you review the information that you have learned on this
website and make sure that you have accurate information before you come to The University of
Akron. These quizzes are not graded, so its all right if you do not get all of the answers correct
the first time. You are encouraged to go back to the lessons and review the questions that you
missed the first time. You can go through the quizzes as many times as you want!




Descriptive Paper 50
C. Main Page Interface
Interface for Home Page






Descriptive Paper 51
D. Sub Pages Interface
Interface for Main Lesson Pages




Descriptive Paper 52
Interface for Sub Lesson Pages (Individual Topics)


Descriptive Paper 53
Interface for Quizzes Page

E. Prototypes
http://uainternationalstudents.weebly.com

Descriptive Paper 54
Expert and User Reviews
Relevant Documents/Guides/Instruction

a. Content Expert Survey Questions (Jessica Guy, Patty Eaglewolf, and Debbie Rozner)

1. Does the content in the website help learners meet the stated goals and objectives? Are the
goals or objectives clear and measurable?
2. Would the content be interesting to learners? Would it keep their attention?
3. Would the content and instructional materials be appropriate for learners of this site? Are the
content and instructional materials written at an appropriate language level for potential
non-native English speakers?
4. Are there any errors in the content or instructional materials on the website?
5. Would the organization and structure of the content be clear for the learners?
6. Do the instructional materials cover the topics completely? If not, what suggestions do you
have for content that could be added to improve this?
7. Are effective technologies used to deliver content to the learners?
8. Does the website establish a collaborative environment where learners can share ideas and
interact with each other?
9. Is the discussion board an appropriate tool for the learners?
10. What content or instructional materials (even if not yet developed) would be the most
helpful for learners? What content would be the most interesting?
11. Was there anything on the website that was confusing or hard to understand?
12. What additional suggestions do you have for improving the website?
13. In general, what did you like about the website? What did you not like?

b. Web Design Expert Survey Questions (Nick Prokup & Haitao Zhao)

1. Does the website work properly? If not, please make suggestions for improvement.
2. Is the website easy to navigate for the learners? Is it intuitive for typical learners?
3. Are the web pages uncrowded and comfortable to view? Do the web pages involve a lot of
scrolling? Are the pages pleasing to the eyes?
4. Were there any links that did not work properly? If so, please explain.
5. Did the navigation design enable you to move efficiently through the site? Did you ever feel
lost as you navigated through the site?
6. What information is easy to access and navigate?
7. Is the text easy to read? Are the fonts big enough? Is there an appropriate contrast between
the text and the background?
8. Are colors and fonts used appropriately to enhance learning?
9. Do you think that the website would be considered accessible for a variety of learners? Why
or why not?
10. Was there anything on the website that was confusing or hard to understand?
11. Did you notice any issues that would prevent learners from accessing content on the
website?
12. What additional suggestions do you have for improving the design, layout, navigation, or
overall appearance of the website?
13. In general, what did you like about the website? What did you not like?
Descriptive Paper 55

c. Potential User Survey Questions (Piya Chatterjee, Wenwen Guo, & Faisal Meshal)

1. Is the website appealing to you? What do you think of the layout of the pages? Are the pages
comfortable to use?
2. Are the web pages easy to interpret and navigate? If not, please give suggestions for
improvement.
3. Was the language used on the website easy to understand for potential non-native English
speakers, including instructional materials and directions? If not, please give suggestions for
improvement.
4. Does the website cover appropriate topics that you feel learners would want to know? Do
you think international students would want to use this website?
5. Do you feel that goals and objectives of the website would be appropriate for the learners?
Would the learners be able to accomplish them using the website?
6. Did all of the links on the website operate correctly? Were you able to access all of the
content or instructional materials?
7. What content or instructional materials (even if not yet developed) would be the most helpful
for learners? What content would be the most interesting?
8. What content or instructional materials (even if not yet developed) would not be helpful or
interesting for learners? Please explain why.
9. Does the site establish a sense of collaborative environment among learners?
10. Was there anything on the website that was confusing or hard to understand?
11. Did you have any issues using the website?
12. What suggestions do you have for improving the content, design, layout, instructional
materials, or focus of the website?
13. In general, what did you like about the website? What did you not like?

3. Results/Findings for Expert & User Review

a. Results from the Two Web Design Experts


Rating Items Feedback from Web Design Experts
1 Does the website work
properly? If not, please make
suggestions for improvement.
Both reviewers agreed that they did not come across that
seemed like a glitch or to be working improperly.
However, one reviewer was confused by the in-browser
quiz format. For one of the quizzes, no matter where he
clicked, a smiley face came up next to the right
answer. The reviewer was not sure if that is intentional.
2 Is the website easy to navigate
for the learners? Is it intuitive
for typical learners?
Two reviewers thought the website is fairly easy to
navigate for the learner. One reviewer was very pleased
with the layout of having the left and top navigation bars
at the first page. However, one reviewer suggested that
quizzes and the lessons should not be separate because it
seems to him that the logical place for a quiz would be
Descriptive Paper 56
located at the end of the lesson that it is assessing.
3 Are the web pages uncrowded
and comfortable to view? Do
the web pages involve a lot of
scrolling? Are the pages
pleasing to the eyes?
One reviewer was very impressed with the aesthetics of
the website. The other reviewer commented that some
pictures on certain pages were too large.
4 Were there any links that did
not work properly? If so,
please explain.
One reviewer commented that he did find some strange
things regarding the quizzes. The quizzes listed in the left
hand navigation bar on the home page took him to a ppt
viewer in the website, while the quizzes links in the top
navigation bar seemed to take him to a different place
altogether, where quizzes are downloaded files rather than
presented in the browser. He suggested that we should
stick with the in-browser support. In the downloaded
version on Mac, using either PowerPoint or Keynote, he
could not see the cursor or where it was clicking.

Besides, the same reviewer mentioned that he would be
much less likely to use a service if he must download it
than if it is just available right there on the site. He also
pointed out that the link to All About Akron on one of
the sub pages led to the homepage instead of the All
About Akron page.
5 Did the navigation design
enable you to move efficiently
through the site? Did you ever
feel lost as you navigated
through the site?
Yes. Both reviewers agreed that the navigation design
would enable learners to move efficiently through the site.
With the exception of the left side navigation on the home
page and the top navigation leading to different places
with the quizzes, it was very intuitive.
6 What information is easy to
access and navigate?
Yes, all information is easy to access and navigate. One
reviewer particularly mentioned that the housing
information was easy to access.
7 Is the text easy to read? Are the
fonts big enough? Is there an
appropriate contrast between
the text and the background?
One reviewer felt like the grey and white colors might be
harder for older readers, but that it isnt really the
audience for the site. He also said that the subtlety is
much nicer than black on white. The other reviewer
commented that there are too many colors of text, the font
is kind of small. Some pictures are too large and
inconsistent.
8 Are colors and fonts used
appropriately to enhance
learning?
One reviewer thought colors and fonts are used
appropriately to enhance learning. They arent distracting
and they are easy to read. However, the other reviewer
Descriptive Paper 57
made the same comments as feedback from question
number 7.
9 Do you think that the website
would be considered accessible
for a variety of learners? Why
or why not?
Yes. Both reviewers did not give any negative feedback
towards this question. One reviewer thought the main
reason is that the ease of navigation would be accessible.
10 Was there anything on the
website that was confusing or
hard to understand?
One reviewer commented that everything he saw seemed
fairly straight forward and easy to use.The other reviewer
thought the left navigation bar is too busy which is not
very good.
11 Did you notice any issues that
would prevent learners from
accessing content on the
website?
One reviewer suggested that the aforementioned issue
with downloading the PowerPoint quiz needs to be
revised.
12 What additional suggestions do
you have for improving the
design, layout, navigation, or
overall appearance of the
website?
One reviewer suggested that the quiz issue mentioned
above (left and top navigation going to different parts of
the site) need to be considered for revision. And also the
quizzes should be included as a part of the lessons.

The other reviewer suggested that the design of the left
navigation bar needs to be improved. In addition, the
proportion of pictures and fonts, and also the size of the
pictures need some adjustments.
13 In general, what did you like
about the website? What did
you not like?
Both reviewers gave positive feedback to the site. One
reviewer mentioned that he loved the look and feel. The
aesthetics were great, and it was easy to navigate. He
thought it would be very intuitive to someone with limited
English skills.The other reviewer liked the design and
effect of the top navigation bar.

b. Results from the Two Content Experts


Rating Items Feedback from Content Experts
1 Does the content in the website help
learners meet the stated goals and
objectives? Are the goals or
objectives clear and measurable?
One reviewer thought that the goals and objectives
might be unusual, but met the requirements for the
class assignment. She said that the goals and
objectives were clear and generally measurable.
The other reviewer thought it did a good job.
2 Would the content be interesting to One reviewer liked the video and photographs on
Descriptive Paper 58
learners? Would it keep their
attention?
the landing page. She also thought the timeline of
Akron was cool. She loved the quizzes and
looked forward to reviewing those when they were
available. The other reviewer thought it would be
interesting and keep their attention.
3 Would the content and instructional
materials be appropriate for learners
of this site? Are the content and
instructional materials written at an
appropriate language level for
potential non-native English
speakers?
One reviewer thought the language was written at a
level for students who are at a high intermediate
level of English proficiency. She thought that
students at lower levels of language proficiency
might be challenged by some of the content
language. She supposed that these students might
be able to use online translation tools if needed.
The other reviewer agreed that it would be
appropriate.
4 Are there any errors in the content or
instructional materials on the
website?
One reviewer found no errors. The other reviewer
found an incorrect date for orientation for incoming
international students.

5 Would the organization and structure
of the content be clear for the
learners?
One reviewer thought the organization was very
clear and liked it very much. The other reviewer
agreed.
6 Do the instructional materials cover
the topics completely? If not, what
suggestions do you have for content
that could be added to improve this?
One reviewer had no additional suggestions, but
loved the All About Akron part of the site. The
other reviewer thought it was an amazing job!
7 Are effective technologies used to
deliver content to the learners?
One reviewer thought the pictures and videos were
excellent. The other reviewer agreed.
8 Does the website establish a
collaborative environment where
learners can share ideas and interact
with each other?
One reviewer thought the discussion area was
useful, but was not confident about how to post a
response. She thought that perhaps it would be
clearer once other students posted responses. The
other reviewer thought it would work.

9 Is the discussion board an appropriate
tool for the learners?
One reviewer thought it would be appropriate and
referenced her comments to the previous question.
The other reviewer agreed that it would be
appropriate.

10 What content or instructional One reviewer thought the Housing, Living in
Descriptive Paper 59
materials (even if not yet developed)
would be the most helpful for
learners? What content would be the
most interesting?
Akron, and College Survival Kit would be helpful
or interesting. The other reviewer thought all of it
would be interesting!

11 Was there anything on the website
that was confusing or hard to
understand?
Both reviewers said no.
12 What additional suggestions do you
have for improving the website?
One reviewer suggested that it would be nice for the
website to look like the actual web pages found on
the UA website. However, she thought that making
the site having a standard appearance with other UA
website would be a minor issue and realized that we
would not be able to do this at this time. The other
reviewer commented that one of the pictures in the
slideshow on the Home page looked stretched out.
She recommended fixing it or taking it out. Also,
she wanted to know who you manage the OIP News
page.
13 In general, what did you like about
the website? What did you not like?
One reviewer liked the design, organization of the
topics, variety of activities, and inclusion of
multimedia. She could not think of anything she
didnt like. The other reviewer liked all of it,
especially the quizzes!


c. Results from the Three Potential Users


Rating Items Feedback from Potential Users
1 Is the website appealing to
you? What do you think of the
layout of the pages? Are the
pages comfortable to use?
Yes, it is. All three students thought the website looks
interesting and useful to them. They like the layout and
design of the pages. The website is easy to navigate.
2 Are the web pages easy to
interpret and navigate? If not,
please give suggestions for
improvement.
All three students agreed that the web pages are easy to
interpret. The slideshow of pictures of UA helps them get
to know the school better. This allows students to feel
interested about different cultures in UA. One student
suggested that there could have been more pictures of the
University departments and buildings on the home page
and an explicit yet succinct introduction on the location
and weather of Akron with respect to the USA (not as a
Descriptive Paper 60
link to a lesson on the first page).
3 Was the language used on the
website easy to understand for
potential non-native English
speakers, including instructional
materials and directions? If not,
please give suggestions for
improvement.
Yes. All three students commented that the language
used in the website is easy to understand for learners.
The information in the website is fairly simply described
without much complications and confusions. A non-
native speaker can easily understand. The instructional
materials and content are also reliable and appropriate for
new international students. One student made the
comment that the technology that is available in the
countries where students are coming from should be
considered when designing the website.
4 Does the website cover
appropriate topics that you feel
learners would want to
know? Do you think
international students would
want to use this website?
Two students thought the website includes all aspects
that new international students need. It is helpful for
international students to get to know about UA before
they come. It is necessary for them learn these lessons
before they arrive at UA, because it gives them a clear
picture of what they need to know before coming to UA.
The students can assess their learning about UA through
given quizzes.

Another student thought the website should be used
during the Orientation for international students.
5 Do you feel that goals and
objectives of the website would
be appropriate for the learners?
Would the learners be able to
accomplish them using the
website?
Yes.
6 Did all of the links on the
website operate correctly? Were
you able to access all of the
content or instructional
materials?
One reviewers mentioned that some of the content or
instructional materials are not completely finished.

7 What content or instructional
materials (even if not yet
developed) would be the most
helpful for learners? What
content would be the most
interesting?
One reviewer commented that more pictures and a UA
map could be helpful and easy for them to understand
UA layout in Akron.

Two reviewers agreed that College Survival Kit, and
Language and Culture would be the most helpful lessons
for learners.
8 What content or instructional Two reviewers agreed on that information on the site
Descriptive Paper 61
materials (even if not yet
developed) would not be helpful
or interesting for
learners? Please explain why.
would be helpful and interesting for learners. However,
one reviewer suggested that the quizzes would not be
helpful or interesting for learners, because it costs time to
complete it and its unnecessary.
9 Does the site establish a sense of
collaborative environment
among learners?
Yes, it does. One potential user reviewer commented that
the discussion page featured as Boardhost could help
learners collaborate and have asynchronous
communications through the site. This could help solve
problems or answer many of the questions learners have
before applying or coming to Akron.
10 Was there anything on the
website that was confusing or
hard to understand?
No students reported anything that was confusing or hard
to understand.
11 Did you have any issues using
the website?
No students reported having any issues using the site.
12 What suggestions do you have
for improving the content,
design, layout, instructional
materials, or focus of the
website?
One student suggested that separate contact info and a
link to the OIP website be included on the Help
page. She also suggested having the same font style and
font color across all pages of the website. Some colors
were different on the home page than the other pages.
Another student suggested that emergency numbers, such
as police and fire, be added to the website. The third
student suggested that information about taking the Roo
Express campus shuttle could be added to the site to help
new international students.
13 In general, what did you like
about the website? What did
you not like?
All three students thought the website would be
helpful. One student appreciated that the website showed
the diversity of the university, while another student
thought it would be useful for a serious information
seeker who was really interested in learning about the
university. However, the same student cautioned that a
person who was not interested in the university might
feel that there is too much information on the site. She
also suggested that links to the university home page and
international admissions should be on the home page and
that content about culture shock should be more
prominently featured on the website.

4. Ideas of modification for design products

Based on the feedback from the experts and potential users, some ideas for modifying the WBLS
include the following:
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Embedding the PowerPoint quizzes and other files within the website instead of having
users download the files
Adding links to OIP on the Help page
Adding a slideshow or video of university buildings to the Home page
Keeping the font styles and colors consistent across all pages
Making sure all links work and take to the pages correctly.
Making sure the left hand navigation and the top navigation lead to the same places
Adding weather report of Akron to the Home page.
Adjusting some sizes of pictures and colors on each page to be consistent
Removing some buttons linking to specific quizzes on the Home page so the Main Menu
on the left side will not be so busy
Changing the format of quizzes to be consistent


Usability Test Report

Background

The WBLS, UA International Students, will be to give new international students
instruction that will help them adapt to living in a new city and learning at a new university. The
specific audience (learners) for this WBLS would be new international students at The
University of Akron. The audience would be undergraduate and graduate students and could
come from many different countries. Our goal will be to design a WBLS that new international
students would be able to access in their native countries before students leave home to come to
the United States. Hopefully, this website would be helpful for new international students to
have a soft landing after they arrive at The University of Akron.

For this usability test, we will be having two graduate international students who have
been studying at the University of Akron for about eight months to evaluate this WBLS.
Wenwen Guo is a Chinese student, majoring in Higher Education Administration at the College
of Education. Piya Chatterjee, an Indian student who is working on her doctoral degree in
Special Education. She also teaches undergraduate level Educational Technology as a teaching
assistant in College of Education. They have been participated in our potential users test. The
testing date will be on April 10th, 2014 at 1:40pm and will be conducted in Zook 328, a lab at
the University of Akron. The data will be collected through observations and written notes based
on their verbal feedback. We will briefly introduce the purpose and goal of creating this WBLS
at the beginning, as well as the purpose of doing this usability test. Next, students will be given
around 30 minutes to browse the website. The length of time is not very long because they have
looked at our site before. For this usability test, we expect them to explore our new features
added, actually use the WBLS as a learner for completing the usability task, and get a deeper
sense of how this WBLS works. After they have completed browsing the website, we are going
to ask them some questions individually for the usability test. Since this is their second semester
of studying at UA, they probably still have clear pictures of what their experiences and memories
were like when they were new international students. We believe that we will be able to receive
constructive feedback and best results from the data. This sample tryout test will allow us to
determine if the WBLS is easy to learn, satisfying to use, and contains the functionality that users
Descriptive Paper 63
desire. This test will help the designers and developers to understand user performance and
identify the strength and weakness of the system, so that we will be able to improve user
satisfaction. This test will allow us to determine the features of the WBLS that are most
effective at helping students achieve the learning outcomes and will allow us to make
improvements to the website before we begin the implementation process.

Usability Test Objectives & Goals

The primary purpose of conducting this usability test is to observe how users interact
with the UA International Students WBLS as they are engaging in evaluating the WBLS by
following those two scenarios. The usability task will be focusing on the ease of navigation, the
effectiveness of the content materials as well as the discussions and quizzes, but not so much on
the completion of all of the lessons and activities. Users will not have to complete all of the
lessons and activities during this test.

After the completion of the usability test, we will be able to determine the user problems
with interacting with the interface and content areas. Some problems that users might encounter
are:
having trouble with following the flow of screens or use the navigation bar to locate
something required in the given task.
having trouble with participating in discussions (failure to sign up, or to locate the session,
or to understand the directions, etc.), or taking quizzes.
having trouble with accessing or using some of the learning materials

During the usability test, students should be able to:
find the system provides the content information they expect
find navigation bar (top & left side) is easy to use
find easy to access the information in the website
find additional materials are useful
find the website appropriately structured
find the directions stated throughout the WBLS and easy to understand
find language is not hard for international students to understand
find discussion topics are engaging and practice students critical thinking and
collaborative working
find quizzes to self-evaluate their learning

Methodology

Two international students will be participating in this usability test to evaluate the
effectiveness of the WBLS. The test location is at Zook 328, a computer lab at The University of
Akron. They are expected to spend around 30 minutes to explore the website by following one of
the two scenarios, but it is alright if they need more time to complete it. However, the length of
time to evaluate the WBLS will be written down as one part of assessing the effectiveness of the
website. As the participants go through the website, some possible questions will be asked based
on situations (see this in Possible Questions During the Usability Test). The participants will
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need to think aloud while viewing the website, and we will try to not ask too many questions
while performing the tasks. We will be clarifying anything that is not clear during this experience.
While they are reviewing the website, we will be observing, taking notes, and writing down any
comments about the website that we hear. The participants responsibilities will be to complete
the learning tasks as stated in the scenario they are given using the website as it is currently
developing. We will be evaluating to see if the participants can complete the task in an efficient
and timely manner. After the tasks, they will provide feedback that is honest based on our post-
usability questions and offer suggestions for improvement of the WBLS.

Procedures

1. Introduce the goals and purpose of designing and developing this WBLS (as it is stated in
the first paragraph).
2. Introduce the goals and purpose of this usability test (as it is stated above in Usability
Test Objectives & Goals section)
3. Give the users instructions for completing the usability test (see Instructions for Users).
4. Users will given one of the two scenarios to read before going to the website (see
Scenarios).
5. Users will use the WBLS to meet the desired learning outcomes as stated in the scenario.
6. Users will be debriefed and asked a series of questions to reflect on their experience (see
Questions to Ask After Usability Test).

Instructions for Users

Before the usability test, the two students using the website will be given the following
instructions:

Thank you for helping us today, so we can observe you using our web-based learning
system. These observations will help us better understand how students might use this website
and complete various tasks and improve it in the future. Please use this website as you naturally
would. As you navigate the website and complete different tasks, please tell us what you are
doing by thinking aloud. Please share with us exactly what you are thinking as you use the
website and attempt to fulfill the desired learning outcomes. If you have any difficulties using
the website, please continue to think aloud and try doing the activities the best you can. Make
sure to verbalize any problems you have figuring out what to do next or how to proceed. We can
use these observations to improve the website in the future.

During this usability test, you will be given a scenario to follow. After reading the scenarios,
please use the website to meet the learning outcomes that are described. Be sure to verbalize
what you are doing while using the website and what you are thinking as you navigate the
website. You are free to choose the ways and tools on the website that you think are best for you
to complete the learning outcomes described in the scenario below. Please take your time and
enjoy using the website.
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The URL of the website you will be using today is http://uainternationalstudents.weebly.com

Do you have any questions before we get started?

Scenarios
1. Imagine that you are a 20-year-old undergraduate international student coming to the United
States to study at The University of Akron. This will be your first time in the United States, so
you are nervous about what to expect. You have received your letter of admission in the mail and
some other welcome materials from the Office of International Programs, but you do not know
where you are going to live once you come to Akron and the different things you can do in the
city. You need to learn about places where you could live. Since this will be your first time in the
United States, you are unfamiliar with some of the customs and language used by people living
in the United States and also want to learn about culture shock. You also want to meet other
international students who will be coming to UA before you arrive and learn how to mail letters
and packages back home to your family in China.

2. Imagine that you are a 30-year-old graduate international student coming to the United States
to study at The University of Akron. You have traveled to the United States before as a study
abroad student as an undergraduate, but have never visited Akron. You plan to have a car to
travel to campus, but since you wont have a car right after you arrive, you are nervous about
finding a place to live. Since you live with your parents at home, this will be your first time
renting an apartment. You want to learn about renting an apartment in Akron. Since you will be
doing a lot of studying, you wont have a lot of time to explore the city, but you would like to
attend special events when you are able. Even though you have visited the United States, you
would like a refresher about how to deal with culture shock, since the culture in America is very
different than in India. Since you will have a car, you will need to learn about getting a drivers
license and a cell phone to call your family back home. You want to share your experiences of
coming to the United States with other students.

Possible Questions to Ask During Usability Test

During the usability test, the developers of the WBLS could ask the users the following questions:

Can you tell me what you were doing?
How did you know how to do it?
What might you have done if you kept working?
Did you want to do something but didnt know how?
What do you think students would do next?

Questions to Ask After Usability Test

1. What is your overall impression of the website? Did the website improve or enhance
learning? Why or why not?
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2. How did you know what to do next when using the website? What cues did you use to
navigate around the website?
3. What do you think that international students would benefit the most from using this
website? What do you think would be the most helpful thing(s) for students to learn?
4. What thoughts do you have about the learning activities on this website? What was the
learning activity you liked the best? Do the activities support learning? Why or why
not?
5. Do you think that international students in other countries would have the technology to
access this website? Why or why not?
6. What are the three things you liked best about the website?
7. What are the three things you liked least about the website?
8. Are there any features or information you expected to find but they were not there?
9. Please share any additional thoughts or comments about the website.

Findings/Results

Observation Notes

Wenwen Guo (Scenario 1) (transcribed from notes taken during usability test)

From the Home page, she clicked on the Housing page from the Main Menu on the left hand
side. She said that she wanted to find a place to live. She went to the On Campus Housing page
and briefly looked at it. Then she went back to the main Housing page and clicked on the link to
Off Campus Housing. While reading over this page, she comments that there were a lot of safety
tips, but they werent really helpful for her. She said that she still did not know where to find
information about housing. After a minute, she found the section called Where to Look for Off
Campus Housing. When I asked her why she was there, she said that she knew she could go to
these websites for home. She explored the OCM website quite a bit and thought it was helpful
and convenient. In the next few minutes, she clicked on all the links that were
provided. However, she only searched for Akron housing on one of the websites, Apartment
Finder. She looked at the listings for apartments in Akron that came up. She told me that by
using these websites, she could find what she wanted.
The next task she completed was learning about customs and language. She went back to the
Home page and clicked on the link to the Language and Culture section. She used the link in the
Main Menu on the left side of the Home page. When she got to the Language and Culture page,
she clicked on the Conversational English and Slang link. When the PowerPoint came up,
however, she could not use the left and right arrows to advance the slides. She got a little
frustrated. However, in less than a minute, she figured out how to make the PowerPoint full
screen and use the left and right arrow keys on her keyboard (not the website) to navigate
between the slides. When I asked her what she was thinking, she said that she was learning how
to greet Americans and make appointments. In the PowerPoint, she clicked on a YouTube video
about ESL Drinks Vocabulary and watched it. Next, she went to several links in the PowerPoint
about ordering food. She said that it could teach her about how to order food in a restaurant, but
since she didnt know much about American food, she was not sure if it would help her or not.
Descriptive Paper 67
As she went through the PowerPoint, I saw that she clicked on the Slang Words link. I noticed
that she was reading a lot of slang words in the PowerPoint and highlighted the word sick and
its definition with her mouse. I asked her what she was thinking. She told me that she was
confused about the meaning of the word sick because it was different from what she
thought.
Next, she used the Return to Home Page button on the Language and Culture page to go back to
the Home page. She went back to the Language and Culture page using the link in the Main
Menu. She clicked on the button for Culture Shock, and the PowerPoint found on that page
came up. Since the PowerPoint on this page was similar to the Conversational English page, she
immediately made it full screen using the button in the bottom right corner of the Scribd window
and used the arrows on the keyboard to navigate. When she started looking over the PowerPoint,
I asked her why she was there and what she was thinking. She said that she was reading an
introduction to culture shock, but she didnt think it was helpful or useful. She said that she
wanted to learn ways to overcome culture shock, but that what she was reading just gave her
information about culture shock. She continued to go through the PowerPoint, and she got
excited when she saw a slide called How to Fight Culture Shock. I observed that she was
reading it very carefully. She told me that she thought it was useful, but that she also wanted to
learn how to use language to contact American students. She wanted activities where she could
contact American people.
Part of the scenario was that the student from China wanted to meet other international
students. I was hoping that she would go to the Discussions page, but she didnt. She went back
to the Home page and looked at all of the content that is included there. She found a link to the
Office of International Programs website in the Main Menu and clicked on it. When I asked her
why she went to that website, she said that she wanted to find other international students. I saw
her go to a page on the OIP website called Information for New International Students Fall
2014. She spent about a minute or two reading the information that was there. Then she closed
that tab and went back to the Home Page. After searching the Home page, she found the link to
Akron International Friendship, since she told me she was looking for international
friends. While looking at the Akron International Friendship website, she told me that if I take
part in these eventsI can make friends. Then she went back to the Home page, went to the
same Additional Resources section where the Akron International Friendship link was, and
clicked on the link for Chapel Internationals. She was excited that there were so many activities
and events for international students.
Since Wenwen had to go to class, this concluded the usability test. Then I asked her the
questions that were prepared ahead of time under the Questions to Ask after Usability Test
section.
Piya Chatterjee (Scenario 2) (transcribed from notes taken during usability test):\

After we briefly explained the purpose of designing the WBLS, we read through the instruction
for users in order to make sure the students knew the purpose of doing this usability test. A
hardcopy of the Instructions for Users was also given to them so that they were able to refresh
their memory about the scenarios when needed. Driven by her curiosity of wanting to use the
website, Piya did not read through the Scenario 2 carefully in the first place. Instead, she went
directly to view the basic framework of the website. This was not her first time to view the site,
Descriptive Paper 68
so she was really looking for the changes and revisions on the site. After I clarified the
instructions of the usability test, she started with viewing all information on the Home page. As
she was viewing the Home page, she mentioned that she is very pleased with slideshow of
pictures at the top, the video, weather widget, Akron map, OIP link, and other information on the
Home page. She said the pictures really captured her eyes. This allows international students to
be more interested in getting to know more about the site and UA. Then she clicked Housing
lesson, trying to figure out which place to live, because this is the top thing she wants to know
according to the description in Scenario 2. She viewed all materials in Housing lesson, including
temporary, on campus, and off-campus. I asked her why she wanted to read through all
information in this lesson. Her response is that she wanted to compare three different options,
and see which one would be her best choice. She was pretty satisfied with the materials in this
lesson. She kept nodding her head and commented that this is very important to know. It is
interesting to know that there is some information that she just knew about it while reading
through it even though she has been studying here for 8 months, such as, Akron International
Friendship information. She eventually made up her mind to choose temporary housing for two
weeks, and then decide to live on campus or off campus after she arrives here, because she
wanted to see how the places exactly looked. Next, because she needed to know more about
Akron, especially some events in Akron, she clicked All About Akron button under lesson.
She read through all the materials in this lesson, and she said she got a better understanding of
Akron history, and planned to visit some places in Akron (Akron Art Museum, Akron Zoo,
Cuyahoga Valley, Lake Erie). Next, she briefly viewed the information in language and culture
lesson. She read the description and purpose of the lesson. Because she wanted to know how to
buy a car and understand phone services in the United States, she was able to locate the lessons
she wanted to. She did not have any trouble with locating any information throughout the whole
process. Finally, because she wanted to interact and share her experiences with other
international students, she was able to locate Discussions, which is the right place to go. She
demonstrated to me that she was able to figure out how to post and interact in Discussion. She
also demonstrated to me that she was able to follow the directions on Quizzes. In general, she is
very pleased with the WBLS after we are done with some revisions since last time. She was very
satisfied with all information on the website. She suggested to us that we should sell our site to
OIP because it is really helpful to new international students. It helps deal with lots of confusions.
I noticed that she used the top navigation bar more than the left side bar. She frequently went
back to the Home page and viewed other pages through the links on the Home page.

Post Usability Test Interview Survey Feedback

From Wenwen Guo

1. What is your overall impression of the website? Did the website improve or enhance
learning? Why or why not?
She thought the website was useful. She thought the design of the website was simple and
clear. She thought she could find what she wanted easily.

2. How did you know what to do next when using the website? What cues did you use to
navigate around the website?
Descriptive Paper 69
The sections were well organized according to the learning problems in the scenario. She also
pointed to the Main Menu on the Home page when I asked her how she navigated the website.

3. What do you think that international students would benefit the most from using this
website? What do you think would be the most helpful thing(s) for students to learn?
She thought the College Survival Kit section would benefit students the most because it gives
suggestions for all aspects of their daily life.

4. What thoughts do you have about the learning activities on this website? What was the
learning activity you liked the best? Do the activities support learning? Why or why not?
She thought the activities supported learning. She liked the Language and Culture the best
because it taught her how to greet Americans and make appointments.

5. Do you think that international students in other countries would have the technology to access
this website? Why or why not?
As far as she knew, she thought that students in other countries would be able to access it.

6. What are the three things you liked best about the website?
She liked that it was easy to use, very clear, and the videos.

7. What are the three things you liked least about the website?
She said that there was nothing she didnt like, except a broken link to the College Survival Kit
on the Home page. Since she was interested in that part of the website, I found it for her, and she
liked it.

8. Are there any features or information you expected to find but they were not there?
She suggested that information about the Roo Express campus transportation system should be
added to the website. When I showed her the Discussions page after the test (she did not go to it
during the usability test), she was able to figure out how to post a new topic, but for a link that
said to login to the discussion board, she thought that she needed to use her UANet ID and
password.

9. Please share any additional thoughts or comments about the website.
She told me that on-campus housing is often too expensive for international students. She also
said that information about driving a car to go places to buy things might be helpful.

From Piya Chatterjee
1. What is your overall impression of the website? Did the website improve or enhance
learning? Why or why not?
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She thought that the website is very neat and informative. It is user friendly. She thought the
website is not pages of texts, but interactive because it contains lots of good features, such as
videos, pictures, quizzes and discussions. She liked these features.

2. How did you know what to do next when using the website? What cues did you use to
navigate around the website?
She said that she was able to easily locate everything she needed from the Home page. The
website is self-directing. She said that the organization of the website is neat and easy to follow
along.

3. What do you think that international students would benefit the most from using this website?
What do you think would be the most helpful thing(s) for students to learn?
She thought the international students would benefit a lot from this website, and it would really
be helpful for them to get to know UA and adapt to the life in the United States. She mentioned
materials in the College Survival Kit are very important for new international students. It is
very practical and closely related to their needs.

4. What thoughts do you have about the learning activities on this website? What was the
learning activity you liked the best? Do the activities support learning? Why or why not?
She thought that the website is very interactive and informative. Students could learn the
materials, test themselves how much they know through quizzes, and interact with other
international students by participating online discussion in the website. She noted that it provides
a great platform to talk to other students and OIP before they come. She said it helped deal with
confusions.

5. Do you think that international students in other countries would have the technology to access
this website? Why or why not?
Yes, because they should be able to get access to the website as long as they have internet access.
She suggested that it would great if all materials could be downloaded or printed out. This allows
students to be able to learn and review or for reference when they do not have any internet access.

6. What are the three things you liked best about the website?
Layout, discussion and quizzes

7, What are the three things you liked least about the website?
None.

8. Are there any features or information you expected to find but they were not there?
None.

Descriptive Paper 71
9. Please share any additional thoughts or comments about the website.
She was very satisfied with everything in the website for now. She thought the website pretty
much covers everything she expected to know.


Suggestions for Improvement

Based on the observations of the two participants and their feedback on post usability task, some
suggestions that will be considered for improving the WBLS in the future are:
Reorganize the order of topics under the Housing lesson so that On-Campus Housing is at
the bottom, Temporary Housing is in the middle, and Off-Campus Housing is at the top
(to better meet the needs of international students)
Fix the broken link in the Main Menu to the College Survival Kit page (already done!)
Make sure that students can navigate all of the PowerPoints using the arrows that are on
the website instead of using the keyboard controls
Making the purpose of the Discussions page more clear to users so they will use it to
interact with other international students and meet new friends
Making the log-in instructions on the Discussions page more clear so that students know
that they dont have to log in or create an account to post messages (perhaps making this
part of the instructions bold or a different color)
Making sure most of the content materials in lessons can be downloaded or printed out so
that students will be able to read and review the content information when there is no
internet access.

Implementation Plan

Time Schedule of the Implementation

Since the exact time schedule of the implementation of the WBLS would be ultimately
determined by the Office of International Programs, the time schedule described here is only the
vision of the two designers and developers of the WBLS and what we hope will take place.

Summer 2014 - If the Office of International Programs feels that the WBLS is ready to be
implemented, then the office could start advertising the website to incoming international
students who would be coming to campus for Fall Semester 2014. The office could e-mail a link
to the website to incoming international students or include a flyer with the link to the website
when mailing out welcome and orientation materials to incoming students. A link to the website
could also be added to the Office of International Programs website. If the website is used by
international students during this time, then the office would need to be able to monitor the
WBLS and respond to student questions. The person who is responsible for monitoring student
posts to the discussion board and the student questions that are submitted through the WBLS
would need to respond in a timely manner to meet students needs.

August 2014 - The WBLS could be further advertised by The Office of International Programs
during their orientation for new international students before Fall Semester. During the
orientation, students get a folder with materials. One of the materials included in the folder could
Descriptive Paper 72
be a flyer that provides a link to the website and tells students what things they can learn by
using the website. A link to the WBLS could also be added to the Office of International
Programs website for future reference for students.

Fall 2014 - If the WBLS is implemented during Summer 2014, then the Office of International
Programs could create an initial online survey that could be sent to all new international students
as an e-mail link. The initial survey would ask international students if they have used the
WBLS either before coming to Akron or after arriving in Akron. International students would be
given a two-week period to complete the survey. During this two-week period, the office would
send out e-mails to remind students about the online survey. Once this two-week period is over,
the office staff (with possible assistance from the two designers and developers) would collect
the survey data and analyze the results. At this time, changes to the learning objectives,
instructional strategies, communication tools, or assessment methods of the WBLS could be
discussed or enacted.
Personnel and Duties Allocation

Since the personnel involved in the implementation plan work in the Office of International
Programs, the personnel and duties allocation described here is only the vision of the two
designers and developers of the WBLS.

Nicholas Martin and Sha Li (Graduate Assistants in the College of Education) - As time permits,
the two designers and developers would follow up with the Office of International Programs and
assist them in the implementation of the WBLS. The two designers and developers could
schedule meetings with the office staff to review strategies for implementation and make needed
modifications to the design and instructional content of the WBLS as requested by the Office of
International Programs. Mr. Martin and Ms. Li could also assist in the development of the online
surveys that are sent to international students to evaluate the WBLS by writing questions or
creating the online deliverable that is sent to students.

Jessica Guy (Coordinator of International Academic and Co-Curricular Programming at the
Office of International Programs) - Since one of Ms. Guys responsibilities is planning how
international students are welcomed to The University of Akron and organizing what orientation
materials students receive from the office before and after arriving on campus, she could be
responsible for reviewing the WBLS for accurate content based on what new international
students need to learn, responding to questions from students that are asked using the WBLS,
administering the website by adding content or assessment materials, creating the online survey
that would be distributed to students, and evaluating the data that is collected from the online
surveys.

Patty Eaglewolf (Administrative Assistant at the Office of International Programs) - Since Ms.
Eaglewolf is familiar with the welcome materials that are mailed to international students before
arriving on campus and the fall and spring orientation programs that are held on campus, she
could be responsible for assisting in the development of the online survey, distributing the online
survey to students by e-mail, gathering data reports from Qualtrics or other data collection tool,
and checking the accuracy of the content as it relates to what incoming international students
should learn when coming to campus.
Descriptive Paper 73

Learning Tasks and Facilitation Strategies

Since the facilitation of the learning tasks would be conducted by personnel at the Office of
International Programs, the strategies described here are only the vision of the two designers and
developers of the WBLS.

Learning Tasks Facilitation Strategies
Become familiar with the
WBLS/Read the information on
Homepage
-Instructions and directions for using the WBLS are
provided in How to Get Started
- Watch the video Experience The University of Akron
Study content materials of lessons -Click on Lesson tab (at the top menu or left side
navigation bar), and find a lesson that you are the most
interested to learn.
- Read the overview of the lesson.
- View lesson objectives for each subtopics
- Read available content materials in the lesson
- Watch videos related to the content if any
- Download content materials, if any, for offline use
Participate in Discussions and
Complete Discussion Assignments
- Click on the Discussions tab at the top of the page or
in the Main Menu along the left side of the homepage.
- Overview, directions, and rules on Discussions page
- Post new topics and respond to peers based on
instructions
Complete Quizzes - Click on the Quizzes tab at the top of the page or in
the Main Menu along the left side of the homepage.
- Select the quiz for the lesson you just learned.
- Read directions on the quiz page.
- Retake the quiz as many times as needed to achieve
mastery.
Check More Information Explore resources and websites provided in the Main
Menu on the left side of Homepage





Descriptive Paper 74
Reflection by Sha Li
Description
Nick and I developed a web-based learning system for UA new international students this
semester. The main purpose of designing this website is to help new international students have a
soft-landing when they arrive at UA. We followed the instructions of each module and
completed our report successfully. We started our project with contacting OIP and ELI asking
for assistance and support. They gave us valuable suggestions as well as content materials that
they usually have them for orientation. We discussed and determined the most important four
topics that students probably expect to know before they come here. It includes housing, all
about Akron (history, events, etc.), language and culture, and college survival kits. We originally
decided to design our website on Google site, but it did not turn out to be very good. So we
switched to Weebly which worked perfectly with our ideas and design. We also had different
reviewers to evaluate our website. Their suggestions helped us made improvement to our site.
We are hoping that OIP could implement our website to best serve for new coming international
students in the future.
Impact
Throughout the whole process of creating a WBLS, I have gained a lot of knowledge of how to
effectively use the web-based learning systems to assist students' learning. Having done so many
reports and documentations of each step through different module, I have also learned that it is
very important to always place ourselves in learners' shoes when designing and implementing
our web-based learning systems. I need to be always making sure if learners would be able to
interact with the systems effectively in order to meet the objectives and goals. Besides, I have
also learned and practiced developing a website in Weebly. Sharing ideas and giving each other
feedback in Discussion Board also helped me a lot with understanding and improving our web-
based learning systems. I am also very glad that I had this great opportunity to work on this with
another graduate student. It is our efforts that make our website turns out to be the best.
Intent
Since the class I am teaching right now intends to be switched to a fully online format, this class
will definitely help me do so. I intend to follow the same steps that we have learned throughout
this semester when developing my class. Meanwhile, I intend to help my colleagues or other
professors to create online class and teach them how to effectively instruct and assist their
students to learn the content in the online environment.



Descriptive Paper 75
Reflection by Nicholas Martin

Description

This semester, Sha Li and I designed and developed a website for new international students who
were coming to The University of Akron. The purpose of the website is to help students make a
successful transition from their native country to being a student in the United States. As an
international student from China, Sha had the original idea of creating a website for international
students. Since I have lived in Akron for my entire life and was familiar with campus as an
undergraduate residence hall student leader, I thought that I would add the perspective of being a
native American and a native resident of Akron to this project. Soon after deciding on the topic
of the project, Sha and I scheduled a meeting with the Office of International Programs. We
wanted to create a website that this department could advertise to international students after it
was developed. During a series of two meetings, the office provided us with copies of their
welcome and orientation materials that are given to international students before arriving on
campus and once they arrive at the start of each semester. These materials were invaluable to us,
as they were the starting point for the learning objectives and content that we eventually
created. We also met with two staff members in the English Language Institute to get ideas for
the project. Sha and I decided to concentrate on four major areas that became the four lessons
that were included within the website: housing, history and things to do in Akron, language and
culture, and college survival kit which were daily living skills that would be helpful for new
international students. After starting a prototype for the WBLS using Google Sites, we decided
to switch to Weebly. Both Sha and I were familiar with using Weebly from other classes. Once
we had a prototype developed, we contacted different stakeholders who we met with in the
Office of International Programs and the English Language Institute and distributed a survey for
them to review our website. To further evaluate the WBLS, we conducted usability testing with
two current international students at the university. As a result of the evaluation process, we
made some improvements to the website and hope to submit it to the Office of International
Programs for their consideration to implement it either partially or in full as a new tool to help
them reach international students and provide them support before arriving on campus.

Impact

During the course of the semester, what I came to appreciate the most was the process behind
what it takes to create a successful website and a meaningful web-based learning system that
supports student learning. While it was challenging to write a series of reports each week, it
helped me learn that developing a web-based learning system is a lot more than just making a
website. In a lot of ways, this process mirrors the five-step ADDIE model of instructional design
(analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation). There has to be a clear purpose
to the website based on a needs assessment, and there needs to be a clear plan for its design and
development. Strategies of successful implementation and evaluation need to be identified in the
early stages. However, I am reminded of the image that appeared several times in our textbook
that the design, development, and evaluation of a web-based learning system is a continual
process that goes through many different cycles that repeat themselves during its lifespan. This
image guided me in realizing that a web-based learning system is probably never perfect. A
web-based learning system is always changing or evolving, maybe in small ways, to better meet
Descriptive Paper 76
the needs of the learners. In order to figure out what changes need to be made, web-based
learning systems should be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that the desired learning
outcomes are being met and that the website is functional for users. As I was working on the
project, having this image reminded me that our web-based learning system was in the infancy of
its overall lifespan. In order for the WBLS to be successful, many international students over a
long period of time will need to use the website to learn more about the United States and The
University of Akron. There were probably many topics that should be included on the website
that we did not have time to develop fully during the semester. However, I realize that a web-
based learning system is not something that will always be static. It is an evolving digital
environment that needs to adapt to changing needs of learners.

My favorite part of the entire process of developing this web-based learning system was doing
the usability test. Our usability test was conducted in one of the computer labs on campus, and I
had a chance to observe a current international student use the website. In the textbook, I read
that usability tests are sometimes conducted with large groups of potential users. I found this
fact quite interesting because I would not think it would be possible to watch everyone in a room
use a website at the same time and be able to hear everyone describe their interactions with the
website. In contrast, I found the fact that I could observe someone using a website on a one-on-
one basis to be extremely invaluable to my understanding of how websites are created. I
thoroughly enjoyed being able to ask her questions about what she was thinking as she was using
the website and why she was navigating to different parts of the site. If I was observing her in a
large room, I would not have been able to pick up on the subtle nuances that I observed. Also, I
feel that observing her one-on-one helped her feel more comfortable sharing with me her
opinions about the website. It also helped that she had reviewed the website as a potential user,
so the website wasnt completely new to her. As a result of this usability test, I made several key
changes to the sequence of instruction, the layout of the website, and the directions that were
provided to learners as a result of her constructive feedback about the effectiveness of the site.

On the technical side, I feel that switching to Weebly was a positive step during the project. It
was frustrating not being able to easily embed things in Google Sites, including our discussion
boards and quizzes. As I looked at other projects that classmates were developing using Google
Sites, I came to the realization that Google Sites might be effective if you are only using Google
tools, such as Google Drive, YouTube, or Google Groups. If someone wants to make a simple
website with words, images, links, and YouTube videos, then Google Sites would be a good tool
to use. However, since we wanted to embed objects from multiple other websites to make our
WBLS more effective and interactive, the switch to Weebly was necessary. One of the sacrifices
of switching was losing the left side menu on all the pages. However, we were able to replicate
the left side navigation on the Home page and make it actually a little less cluttered and easier to
use than our Google Sites prototype. Overall, I loved being able to embed almost anything we
wanted to from any website using Weebly, and we were able to take advantage of many of the
design features that Weebly has to make our website more appealing to users. Some of these
design features included the use of columns to add images next to corresponding text, adding
block quotes to point out important information, adjusting the size of YouTube videos to make
them larger or smaller depending on need, and adding buttons to link to different pages on the
website. In addition, we were able to hide pages from the main navigation, such as the pages
under each lesson. All of these features helped make our website more effective.
Descriptive Paper 77
Intent

After completion of this project, it is the hope of Sha and I that the Office of International
Programs will want to use our website (either partially or in full) as part of their welcome
materials that are distributed to international students before arriving on campus. However,
since developing a website for such a diverse group of learners from many different countries is
somewhat of a daunting task, we realize that the office might not want to implement our website
immediately. The office might want to conduct additional evaluation of the website through
reviews by current international students and other staff on campus before implementing it with
actual incoming students. One of the challenges that might happen is that we dont know who in
the office might take the responsibility of implementing the website or collecting evaluation
data. The office currently has an interim director, so it is possible that a new director will have a
different idea about what should happen to our web-based learning system. Even if the office
decides not to use our website in full, we hope that the office will explore options for creating an
online discussion space for incoming international students to learn more about each other and
share their hopes and fears about coming to the United States and becoming a student at The
University of Akron. The goal of this discussion space would be to create a community of
learners representing many countries and many diverse cultures from around the world. Perhaps
there could be a discussion topic of the week for incoming international students that could be
posted by someone at the office, along with other topics that would be relevant for international
students to discuss and share knowledge. In addition to an online discussion space, we hope that
the office will also explore a more efficient way for international students to contact the
office. In our web-based learning system, we had a Help page with a form where students could
submit questions to the office. Currently it seems like students just call or e-mail the office with
questions about immigration, orientation, or other important topics. One of the nice features of
Weebly is that it keeps track of submissions that are made to online forms. Someone in the
office could keep track of questions that come into the office using the online form and perhaps
look for trends in the data that might be helpful to the office, such as many questions about a
similar topic or the same kind of questions that seem to be coming from students in a
country.

Another alternative that could be explored is a similar website that is presented to international
students who have to attend a late orientation program after the start of each semester. During the
late orientation, there is not enough time to cover all of the topics that are addressed by speakers
during the full two-day orientation for international students. A similar web-based learning
system to our project this semester could be developed to help new students learn about topics
not covered during the full orientation, discuss ideas with peers, and check their knowledge using
self-assessments. It might also be possible for the Office of International Programs to determine
which international students used the website to complete late orientation activities. An
additional alternative would be to work with student associations on campus that serve
international students (Saudi Student Association, Chinese Student Association, Indian Student
Association) to develop a web-based learning to specifically meet learning needs of students
from a particular country and help new students make a successful transition to the United States
and the University of Akron. No matter what happens, both Sha and I will be in contact with the
Office of International Programs to determine the next phase in the lifespan of our web-based
learning system project.