Determining effective distance learning designs through usability testing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


To add to the developing understanding of Web-based writing instruction, we conducted usability testing to assess the design of our online first-year composition courses at a large community college in the Southwest. Beyond the course-specific results, this study offers two primary contributions. First, it offers a model for conducting usability testing of Web-based writing classes to diagnose potential design problems in a course. This includes providing an indication of what kinds of results and data teachers should expect to gather, how to interpret that data, where to go for assistance, whom to involve in the testing process, and what to do with the results. Second, this study provides an initial understanding of guidelines for course design using Web-based technologies. These guidelines were developed by examining writing classes in the study and then comparing the results with already established principles of design from usability engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-107
Number of pages17
JournalComputers and Composition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Community college writing instruction
  • Course assessment
  • Course design principles
  • Course management systems
  • Usability testing
  • Web-based distance learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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