Research Methods

WebMC at Florida State University

WebMC is a course-in-a-box program that provides instructors with a variety of tools to complement their conventional classroom teaching. Besides on-line areas for posting syllabi, assignments, and grades, there are two main communication tools available through WebMC: an electronic discussion board where students can post messages and respond to posted messages, and a class listserv. WebMC was adopted by Florida State University in 1998.

As a WAC researcher and practitioner at Florida State, I was interested in how instructors were using WebMC. Did adopting WebMC alter the pedagogy of instructors who hadn't previously included a web-based component in their courses? In what ways were instructors using the discussion board and listserv? In order to investigate how WebMC was being used, I combined an analysis of the syllabi and assignments posted to course websites with email interviews with the instructors who were using WebMC in the fall of 2000. In the next section, I discuss my research methods in more detail.