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The Usefulness of ICT Support Systems for Thesis Courses: Learners' Perspectives at Bachelor and Master Level
Stockholms universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för data- och systemvetenskap. (Interaction Design And Learning (IDEAL))ORCID-id: 0000-0001-5949-8905
2015 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

Doing a bachelor’s or master’s degree is a journey that leads to success or attrition (dropout). Previous research show to the significance of considering learners’ perspectives and their need for information and different types of interaction. This can be done through online ICTSS (information and communication technology support systems). The overall aim of this dissertation was to create knowledge about how the use of ICTSS can facilitate different types of interaction and support learners in order to reduce thesis problems and attrition and to enhance the quality of the thesis outcomes. The aim was operationalized by two research questions scrutinizing the interaction problems in the thesis process and investigating how the use of ICTSS can facilitate different types of interaction to reduce such problems and attrition, and to enhance the learning opportunities and quality of the thesis outcomes. To answer the research questions, five main studies were performed by applying different research methods on a case study. The empirical studies were performed at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) at Stockholm University, Sweden. The respondents were different learners (students) with active thesis projects at the bachelor or master level in different programs at DSV between 2012 and 2015. For the first two studies, conceptual and content analysis of the data collected from the case study was performed. For the three other studies, open-ended online questionnaires (survey) and interviews were conducted. On the basis of the findings, three main types of interaction issues were developed which related to the need for more learner-content, peer-to-peer, and learner-supervisor interaction in the thesis process. The hypothesis was that the interaction issues could be reduced by implementing a set of strategic suggestions through the use of an ICTSS including a set of functionalities and resources. The usefulness of these functionalities and resources was evaluated with regard to the learners’ perception and experiences. The findings were categorized to facilitate learner-content, peer-to-peer, and learner-supervisor interaction, as well as management of the contents, supervision, and communication of the supervisory team. From these categories, a conceptual framework was developed in this dissertation to illustrate how the use of the ICTSS supports the thesis process. In conclusion, providing access to a set of structured e-resources and supporting educational communication through different types of interaction with peers and the supervisory team, enables learners’ self-managed learning and facilitates similar learning opportunities for learners in thesis courses.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2015.
Serie
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 15-022
Nyckelord [en]
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Support System, interaction, thesis, self-managed learning
Nationell ämneskategori
Data- och informationsvetenskap
Forskningsämne
data- och systemvetenskap
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122646ISBN: 978-91-7649-308-3 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-122646DiVA: diva2:867624
Disputation
2015-12-18, Lilla hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Tillgänglig från: 2015-11-26 Skapad: 2015-11-05 Senast uppdaterad: 2015-11-19Bibliografiskt granskad
Delarbeten
1. Finding Potential Problems in the Thesis Process in Higher Education: Analysis of e-mails to develop a support system
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Finding Potential Problems in the Thesis Process in Higher Education: Analysis of e-mails to develop a support system
2015 (Engelska)Ingår i: Education and Information Technologies: Official Journal of the IFIP technical committee on Education, ISSN 1360-2357, E-ISSN 1573-7608, Vol. 20, nr 1, 21-36 s.Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Autonomous learning hype has created much speculation in educational systems regarding how to develop the learning process. Final project (thesis) in Bachelor’s and Master’s levels is a significant part of study for students in higher education. However, there are some problems, which lead students not managing to do or finish their thesis. As a part of a solution to these problems, the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) at Stockholm University, Sweden, has established an information and communication platform, called SciPro. The system was initiated in 2011 to support students and supervisors during the thesis process courses. This study contributes by exploring problems that learners have faced during the final project courses and analyzing discussed issues in the emails, sent to the SciPro support group, ThesisSupport. A random sample of one hundred emails has been analyzed with the help of a content analysis tool, in order to develop the categories, which cover the discussed issues. The result of the study shows six exhaustive and mutually exclusive categories of problems: 1) Thesis initiation (26 %), 2) Info-mail (4.7 %), 3) Technical issues (17.1 %), 4) Exemption (18.7 %), 5) Supervision (17.1 %), 6) Final seminar (16.4 %). Consequently, based on the significance of the categories, two groups of strategic suggestions are developed: 1) developing communications and 2) developing instructions. These strategies intend to enhance support for the autonomous learning process for the thesis courses in higher education.

Nyckelord
SciPro, Idea-bank, Thesis process, Learning process, Autonomous learning, Communication platform
Nationell ämneskategori
Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik
Forskningsämne
data- och systemvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96349 (URN)10.1007/s10639-013-9262-z (DOI)
Tillgänglig från: 2013-11-20 Skapad: 2013-11-20 Senast uppdaterad: 2015-11-06Bibliografiskt granskad
2. Peer Portal: Quality Enhancement in Thesis Writing Using Self-Managed Peer Review on a Mass Scale
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Peer Portal: Quality Enhancement in Thesis Writing Using Self-Managed Peer Review on a Mass Scale
2013 (Engelska)Ingår i: International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, ISSN 1492-3831, E-ISSN 1492-3831, Vol. 14, nr 1, 186-203 s.Artikel, forskningsöversikt (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper describes a specially developed online peer-review system, the Peer Portal, and the first results of its use for quality enhancement of bachelor's and master's thesis manuscripts. The peer-review system is completely student driven and therefore saves time for supervisors and creates a direct interaction between students without interference from supervisors. The purpose is to improve thesis manuscript quality, and thereby use supervisor time more efficiently, since peers review basic aspects of the manuscripts and give constructive suggestions for improvements. The process was initiated in 2012, and, in total, 260 peer reviews were completed between 1st January and 15th May, 2012. All peer reviews for this period have been analyzed with the help of content analysis. The purpose of analysis is to assess the quality of the students work. The results are categorized in four groups: 1) excellent (18.1%), 2) good (22.7%), 3) fragmented (18.5%), and 4) poor (40.7%). The overall result shows that almost 40% of the students produced excellent or good peer reviews and almost as many produced poor peer reviews. The result shows that the quality varies considerably. Explanations of these quality variations need further study. However, alternative hypotheses followed by some strategic suggestions are discussed in this study. Finally, a way forward in terms of improving peer reviews is outlined: 1) development of a peer wizard system and 2) rating of received peer reviews based on the quality categories created in this study. A Peer Portal version 2.0 is suggested, which will eliminate the fragmented and poor quality peer reviews, but still keep this review system student driven and ensure autonomous learning.

Nyckelord
Autonomous learning, online collaboration, computer-mediated communication, SciPro, peer review, peer portal, thesis process
Nationell ämneskategori
Data- och informationsvetenskap Utbildningsvetenskap
Forskningsämne
data- och systemvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93205 (URN)000322375400011 ()
Anmärkning

AuthorCount:2;

Tillgänglig från: 2013-09-04 Skapad: 2013-09-04 Senast uppdaterad: 2015-11-06Bibliografiskt granskad
3. Learners’ Perceptions on the Structure and Usefulness of e-Resources for the Thesis Courses
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Learners’ Perceptions on the Structure and Usefulness of e-Resources for the Thesis Courses
2014 (Engelska)Ingår i: European Journal of Open and Distance Learning, ISSN 1027-5207, E-ISSN 1027-5207, Vol. 17, nr 1, 154-171 s.Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Nowadays, utility of information and communication technology (ICT) in education is a way to facilitate interaction and accessing information for learning in higher education. However, finding a set of structured e-resources to facilitate learning within specific courses is still a big challenge in most of the institutions and universities. This includes the problems and challenges for the thesis courses in both undergraduate (Bachelor) and graduate (Master) level in Sweden. To overcome or reduce the problems and enhance quality of outcomes in the thesis courses, the department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) at Stockholm University has developed a Learning Support System, SciPro (Scientific Process), to support thesis process. This study aims at investigating learners’ perspectives on usefulness of structured e-resources in order to reduce challenges for finding information related to the thesis steps in SciPro. This is done based on an open online survey, carried out in 2012-2013 of students’ perspectives at DSV. The study found the actual problems and hence suggested a model as a way forward to sort the useful e-resources to support reducing the problems in the thesis process.

Nyckelord
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Learning Support System (LSS), SciPro, Thesis, Thesis courses
Nationell ämneskategori
Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik
Forskningsämne
data- och systemvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-111012 (URN)
Tillgänglig från: 2014-12-19 Skapad: 2014-12-19 Senast uppdaterad: 2015-11-13Bibliografiskt granskad
4. Students’ Perspectives on Utility of Mobile Applications in Higher Education
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Students’ Perspectives on Utility of Mobile Applications in Higher Education
2013 (Engelska)Ingår i: Trends in Mobile Web Information Systems: Revised Selected Papers / [ed] Maristella Matera, Gustavo Rossi, Springer Publishing Company, 2013, 44-56 s.Konferensbidrag, Publicerat paper (Refereegranskat)
Abstract [en]

Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in pedagogy and learning in higher education supports the concept of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Mobile devices and applications with educational purposes are part of using online ICT and facilitate autonomous learning in education. Using mobile applications for education has significantly improved in the last few years. However, there is still a gap, in which this concept is still not widely known and frequently experienced by learners. As a part of supporting TEL in higher education and filling this gap, the department of Computer and System Sciences at Stockholm University in Sweden is planning to develop a mobile application for the SciPro system. SciPro is the computer-mediated communication platform to support enhancement of thesis quality and facilitate autonomous learning in higher education, at both Bachelor and Master levels. This study aims to investigate and evaluate learners’ perspectives about utility of mobile applications in higher education and specifically to support SciPro functionalities. Almost 95% of the respondents use mobile applications for higher education and believe in the utility of mobile applications for supporting learning in higher education. This is while there are a few respondents (less than 5%), who do not fully share this opinion. More than 70% of the respondents think that a SciPro mobile application will add value to their thesis process. Even though it may not directly affect the speed and quality of the thesis, it will increase mobility, availability, and flexibility of accessing information and resources in SciPro.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Springer Publishing Company, 2013
Serie
Communications in Computer and Information Science, ISSN 1865-0929 ; 183
Nyckelord
Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), Information and Communication, Technologies (ICT), Mobile Application, Applications, Learning, Higher Education, Thesis Process
Nationell ämneskategori
Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik
Forskningsämne
data- och systemvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97239 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-03737-0_6 (DOI)978-3-319-03736-3 (ISBN)978-3-319-03737-0 (ISBN)
Konferens
MobiWIS 2013 International Workshops, Paphos, Cyprus, August 26-28, 2013
Tillgänglig från: 2013-12-05 Skapad: 2013-12-05 Senast uppdaterad: 2015-12-10Bibliografiskt granskad
5. ICT-supported peer interaction among learners in Bachelor's and Master's thesis courses
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>ICT-supported peer interaction among learners in Bachelor's and Master's thesis courses
2016 (Engelska)Ingår i: Computers and education, ISSN 0360-1315, E-ISSN 1873-782X, Vol. 94, 276-297 s.Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Peer interaction and collaborative learning through the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is used to an increasing extent in higher education. Universities attempt to motivate learners (students) to support their peers to enhance the quality of learning outcomes. This study monitors how an ICTSS (ICT-based Support System) facilitates peer interaction in the Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis process. The aim of the study was to investigate learners’ perception of usefulness of an ICTSS for peer interaction and the influencing factors on the quality of the peer interaction. The ICTSS was developed at an institution in Sweden (the institution’s name has been removed during the double-blind review). The system facilitates peer interaction in three ways: peer reviews, active participation, and final opposition. The study employed a mixed-method approach, which included an online survey followed by in-depth interviews. The target groups were learners at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level in computer science and information systems. The findings showed that learners perceived the peer interaction useful to enhance the quality of the thesis outcomes. However, there are influencing factors affecting the quality of peer interaction, in different phases of the thesis process. Examples of these factors are the quality of thesis manuscripts, supervisors’ control and grading of the process, clear instructions and guidelines, learners’ understanding of the peer interaction and why it takes place, previous training and learners’ motivation to perform peer reviews. Following these factors, the study developed a set of strategic suggestions from both pedagogical and technical aspects to enhance the peer interaction in the thesis process. Considering these suggestions makes the use of the ICTSS more effective to enhance the quality of thesis learning outcomes. 

Nyckelord
Collaborative learning, thesis process, higher education, peer-review, peer interaction
Nationell ämneskategori
Data- och informationsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122680 (URN)10.1016/j.compedu.2015.11.006 (DOI)000370303500020 ()
Tillgänglig från: 2015-11-09 Skapad: 2015-11-09 Senast uppdaterad: 2016-03-14Bibliografiskt granskad

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