Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Bernard J. Dodge, PhD, Chair; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD, Member; Marcie J. Bober, PhD, Member; David M. Sharpe, EdD, Member


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome--AIDS, case study, critical thinking, education, higher education, learning, Jigsaw method, personal agency beliefs, student engagement, two-case study, undergraduate history classes, web-enhanced instruction, webquest design strategies


The WebQuest model continues to grow in popularity, with teachers from around the world and many teacher-educators and experts in the field of educational technology espousing its potential to extend content knowledge and promote higher level thinking. While the model is well received by teachers and students alike, most evidence of its effectiveness is anecdotal, and there is very little in the way of empirical research on the elements that make an effective WebQuest. Furthermore, rich descriptions of how students interact during a well-developed WebQuest are largely absent from the literature. In short, the WebQuest model suffers from a lack of scholarly research which may impede practitioners interested in using this approach to design and deliver effective Web-enhanced instruction. Successful WebQuests must address three pedagogical design challenges: Enhancing students’ personal agency beliefs; sustaining student engagement; and, promoting students’ deep understanding and critical thinking. This dissertation was a comparative two-case case study that investigated how one cooperative learning method. Jigsaw, was adapted for use with a WebQuest about living with AIDS. The researcher compared two versions of the WebQuest, one with and one without the addition of the Jigsaw method, and showed how they addressed each design challenge. Feedback from 89 students participating in two undergraduate history classes revealed significant differences by class in the following important areas: Students in the No Jigsaw class were more likely to use a negative statement to describe the quality of interaction with their teammates post-Jigsaw. Students in the Jigsaw class perceived more strengths and fewer weaknesses with the WebQuest than the No Jigsaw class, and shared more positive and fewer negative remarks regarding overall satisfaction with the WebQuest experience. Perhaps most importantly, students in the Jigsaw class spent significantly less time on task post-Jigsaw when controlling for Midterm Score and prior experience with the content domain. Finally, while students from both classes did equally well on the measures of content learned, the results suggested that the students from the Jigsaw classes were more efficient with the time they spent working on the WebQuest task outside of class.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access