Degree: Doctoral Thesis

Authors: Wong, Kin Ming Kelvin

Supervisors: Doctor João Garrott, University of Saint Joseph. Co-supervisor: Doctor Vincent Davis, Visiting Professor, University of Saint Joseph

Nowadays, many university students (in Macau) are required to attend computer literacy courses to develop their basic skill levels and knowledge as part of their literacy foundation requirements. To be effective, such courses, which are very staff intensive and require access to expensive equipment and software, necessitate high levels of individual teaching. Evidence gathered at two study sites during this research, strongly suggests that many students may not be benefiting sufficiently from their computer literacy courses. Teachers frequently complain about the weak IT skills of many course graduates. This research proposes an innovative model for designing and delivering computer literacy courses based on constructivist principles, using peer-tutoring and blended learning to increase cost effectiveness and to improve student outcomes. Central to the model being proposed is the training and deployment of former course graduates as peer instructors and assessors. Constructivist principles provide a conceptual framework to ensure that the curriculum content, teaching strategies, learning styles and assessment procedures are properly aligned and fully understood by both the instructors and students to achieve high quality learning outcomes. An action research approach was used during the pilot and trail phases of the research to monitor the implementation of the model and evaluate its effectiveness using mixed methods. The planned two–phase action evaluation used a questionnaire to investigate the effectiveness of knowledge and skill transfer to students, and tutors’ learning progress; in-depth semi-structured interviews were used to survey, interpret and evaluate students’ and tutors’ perceptions of the new teaching and learning approach. Most respondents had a Confucian Heritage Cultural Background. For the first time, the research provides new insights into ways in which Confucian Heritage Cultural factors, interact with constructive principles in developing peer-tutoring methods in a university setting in Macau, and more widely.