Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 326–343 | Cite as

The effects of online glossary quizzes and student autonomy on domain vocabulary learning in business law

  • Eunbae LeeEmail author
  • R. Lainie Wilson Harris


While understanding of domain specific vocabularies is essential in content learning, little research informs teaching practices for glossary learning. This study examines the relationship among vocabulary learning, student autonomy, and course performance through the theoretical framework of self-determination theory and second language acquisition. Undergraduate business law students (n = 209) took weekly online glossary quizzes via a learning management system before coming to the class. Students were divided into two groups where (a) glossary quizzes were required and graded and (b) optional and not graded. There was a significant relationship among the number of quiz attempts and overall course performance. While both groups valued the glossary quiz as a helpful learning activity, students in the required group made more attempts at quizzes (t = 17.029, p < .01), received higher scores (t = 2.841, p < .01), and demonstrated higher perceived competence (t = 5.544, p < .01) in their command of vocabularies than students in the optional group. Also, students who reported more autonomous motivation toward the course made more attempts and received higher scores. Findings suggest required glossary quizzes enhance student engagement with quizzes and further improves content learning. However, the use of glossary quizzes proved effective only when students actually completed these numerous times. Educators are recommended to encourage repeated attempts at glossary quizzes where unfamiliar vocabularies are crucial to content understanding and professional practice.


Online glossary quiz Vocabulary learning Self-determination theory Autonomy Competence Engagement Performance Business law 



This study was supported by the Research Fund, 2017 of The Catholic University of Korea (Grant No. M-2017-B0014-00008).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Catholic University of KoreaBucheonSouth Korea
  2. 2.School of Accountancy, College of BusinessGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA

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