Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Special Education

First Advisor

Dr. Alonzo E. Hannaford

Second Advisor

Dr. Dona Icabone

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Patterson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Paul Ponchillia


Many professionals involved with the educational use of microcomputers have indicated that criteria for evaluating software are often based on speculation and intuition and that there is a need to establish valid evaluative criteria. Among the elements comprising most evaluation schemes is interaction. The literature suggests that both an operational definition for the term interaction as applied to educational microcomputer software and a means to validly assess such interaction are necessary. The purpose of the study was to systematically develop such an operational definition and to develop and validate an instrument and a procedure to assess this interaction. Using a stimulus/response approach, a matrix of computer elements and user elements which comprise interaction was constructed and formed the basis for the Microcomputer Interaction Matrix instrument. High interaction and low interaction educational microcomputer software were identified by persons familiar with such software. These programs were analyzed using the Microcomputer Interaction Matrix to assess whether the matrix could differentiate the interaction present in the two types of programs. The matrix was found to be a reliable and valid instrument not only by which to assess interaction but also upon which to base an operational definition. Implications for educators and for producers/developers of educational microcomputer software are presented along with specific recommendations for further research.


Fifth Advisor: Dr. Lyke Thompson

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access