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ICT-supported peer interaction among learners in Bachelor's and Master's thesis courses
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5949-8905
2016 (English)In: Computers and education, ISSN 0360-1315, E-ISSN 1873-782X, Vol. 94, 276-297 p.Article in journal (Refereed) 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. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 94, 276-297 p.
Keyword [en]
Collaborative learning, thesis process, higher education, peer-review, peer interaction
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122680DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2015.11.006ISI: 000370303500020OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-122680DiVA: diva2:868082
Available from: 2015-11-09 Created: 2015-11-09 Last updated: 2016-03-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Usefulness of ICT Support Systems for Thesis Courses: Learners' Perspectives at Bachelor and Master Level
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Usefulness of ICT Support Systems for Thesis Courses: Learners' Perspectives at Bachelor and Master Level
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2015
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 15-022
Keyword
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Support System, interaction, thesis, self-managed learning
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122646 (URN)978-91-7649-308-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-12-18, Lilla hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-11-26 Created: 2015-11-05 Last updated: 2015-11-19Bibliographically approved

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