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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

Helping as participation in an open online community : an exploratory study

Hanif, Hafiz January 2016 (has links)
The study explores the issues of participation, and to an extent, learning in an open online community of independent game developers, GameSalad.com. GameSalad is a firm-hosted online support forum for a desktop application of the same name. It is geared to provide members and users with a platform for sharing of information pertaining to their game development, and a place to seek and provide help. It is a large community with over 114,000 registered members (as of March 2015), with an average of 106,000 monthly active unique users, and a high degree of activity such as the posting of tutorials and tips, sharing game development progress, and announcing the launch of a new game. However, the majority of the interactions on the forum are concerned with seeking and providing help. This study focuses on issues around community, participation, and learning within online networks and is underpinned by a concern for participatory and social experiential perspectives on learning. In order to explore participation, an exploratory mixed-method approach was used. This involved a three-phase data collection procedure. First, observation of interaction in the community was carried out (noting the pattern of threads opened, weekly leader boards, resources, and general practices) coupled with document analysis to identify threads that reflected high participation or were deemed beneficial by interviewees. Second, online survey of 35 items including five demographic items, twenty forced 2-point semantic differential scale items, and ten 5-point Likert scale items was carried out, to measure members’ perceptions of the community and identity (n = 110 responses). Third, semi-structured sequential interviews were carried out with 21 volunteer interviewees online, using the forum’s own private messaging system over a period from August 2014 to March 2015. Although originally conceived as an overarching study of online participation, the study became focused on the more active members of the community, and on the question as to why and how some members of online communities appear to take on helping roles. The findings from both survey and interviews showed a strong sense of community among active members, and that active members saw their identity in the online community as an extension of their off-line self. Although open to all members, participants who volunteered to be interviewed tended to be among the more active members and many had adopted ‘caretaker’ or helper role in the community. The interviews showed that giving help was motivated by a mix of extrinsic and intrinsic elements, in particular, helpers were aware of the need to sustain the community and in many cases felt an obligation to offer help as a return or ‘pay it forward’ for the help they had received in the past. They were motivated by community mindedness, empathy, self-confidence and sense of identity. The giving of help depends on ‘mood’, this mood is generated not only when helpers feel they have the available time and relevant expertise in order to help, but also when those asking for help have asked in an appropriate manner and provided sufficient contextualisation. In part, learning in the community is seen as a social exchange, and members put a value on the discussions they saw useful. However, this study reveals some of the problems experienced by the company behind the community, tensions among some members of the community, as well as issues pertaining to shared knowledge and artefacts. This study improves our understanding of community of practice, the provision of help, the motivation for helping, as well as the dynamics of participation in an open online community. It gives insight into the sustainability of online community by showing the motivation, strategies for, and consequences of helping. It also gives insight into how informal learning is embedded in social interactions and perceived value. The study is not a unique case but it is one of an underreported area, a highly participative community. Methodologically, this study offers mixed method approach with a strong focus on qualitative data and analysis methods, with an innovative way of triangulating data.

Designing technology to innovate teaching practices : a critical assessment of a learning design support environment

Pujadas, Roser January 2015 (has links)
This thesis, at the meeting point of information systems and education research, starts with a critical assessment of the theoretical assumptions underlying ICTmediated learning research, and takes issue with instrumentalist approaches to technology as a means of encouraging learning through collaboration and of achieving innovation in work practices. I argue that technologies and knowledge (as well as what is considered worth learning) are imbricated in an ongoing “scene of struggle” where different interests, institutional logics, rationalities, and realities are negotiated. This research draws on an empirical case study which follows the efforts of an interdisciplinary research team in a 3-year project while developing and evaluating a Learning Design Support Environment (LDSE). The expected aim of the LDSE project was to foster a community of practice among academics that would share knowledge of teaching practices, and collaboratively discover innovative approaches to technology-enhanced learning. I also bring the broader sociotechnical context into the discussion, to understand the different institutional logics entangled with this technology. A conceptual framework is developed that integrates insights from recent contributions in institutional theory and actor-network theory. The former sensitise us to the broader social context and the complex interaction of different institutional logics. The latter emphasizes the entanglement of technology, knowledge, and practices. This framework offers an effective lens to understand how technologies aimed at supporting collaborative learning at work, and particularly in teaching, are bound up with practices and institutional logics in a given sociopolitical context. Such understanding will reveal the assumptions of straightforward means-to-ends innovation in technological interventions aimed at achieving learning and change, by laying bare the complex sociotechnical processes involved in making “a technology work” and in legitimating knowledge and practices.

Games based learning

Benson, Roy Michael January 2014 (has links)
The aim of this thesis is to investigate whether it is possible for a teacher (as a non-game developer) to create educational computer games that could be considered 'fun' to play. The influences of game genre and graphical fidelity on this process are also investigated, along with the practicalities and barriers that constrain the (mainstream) use of computer games within the education system. A literature review was conducted into the motivations for using educational games, the educational and conventional approaches to games design, and finally the development frameworks/software tools available for the purposes of implementation. Building upon the literature review, a questionnaire based survey and a games design pilot were conducted in order to establish what constitutes educational games design 'best practice'. Based on the feedback/results obtained, a small number of educational games were developed (using the package "GameMaker") and piloted for use within the subsequent main study. The main study consisted of a series of educational game playing sessions (supported by questionnaires) aimed at addressing the thesis research questions. The results of the study (in combination with an additional literature review) suggest the following: • It is possible for teachers (as non-game developers) to create 'fun' educational computer games, although this may not always be the most practical or preferred approach. • Low fidelity graphics do not negatively impact the successful use of computer games within an educational environment. • Educational games can be used practically within the education system, but with constraints and barriers preventing their mainstream adoption, unless schools, government and educational game advocates work together towards a shared vision. • Due to limitations within the study, the influence of genre on the use educational games remains unresolved. This thesis contributes new knowledge through the discovery that computer games do not require high fidelity graphics in order to be used successfully within an educational environment (at the primary school level), and addresses a gap within the current literature through the documentation of the author's 'real world' experience of developing educational computer games (from a teacher's point of view).

Investigating role of interactivity in effectiveness of e-learning

Alzahrani, Joharah January 2015 (has links)
In last decade or so, e-learning seems to be emerging as the dominant model of learning but questions are being raised about the trade-offs in switching from traditional classroom based learning to e-learning; for example, e-learning is cost effective, round the clock accessible and convenient but there are questions raised about its quality and effectiveness. In last decade Saudi government has undertaken several steps for reforming the education system in the Kingdom including provision of education for all. E-learning can play a vital role in helping Saudi government reach its ambitious targets but despite its obvious benefits the overall adoption of e-learning in the Kingdom has remained low. The key problem in this regard is lo perceived effectiveness of e-learning. E-learning is quite beneficial in that it can help individuals not only acquire knowledge but also skills which allows them to learn independently without constraints using the vast amount of education resources available online. However, the main focus of the e-learning community in the Kingdom has remained restricted to teaching specific subjects. This research argues that the true potential of e-learning is much broader and useful than currently perceived by the e-learning community in the Kingdom. E-learning has the potential of producing lifelong learners. Hence the focus of e-learning community should be on overall skills development. This research thus defines e-learning effectiveness in terms of both short term goals (that is, learning about the subject) and long term goals (improving skills and motivations for being lifelong and independent learner). This research investigates impact of four kinds of interactivity (Student-Student, Student-teacher, Student-content, Student-System) on effectiveness of e-learning. This is a mixed methods research. Data was collected using focus groups and questionnaire surveys. This research finds that all four kinds of interactivity play a role in improving effectiveness of e -learning All four kinds of interactivities were found significant for improving course learning. Student-teacher, Student-Student and Student-Content interactivities were found critical for improving independent learning skills. Student-Student an Student-Content interactivity was found critical for improving motivation for being lifelong e-learner.

Investigating the learning performance in computer supported collaborative learning environments

Alrayes, Amal January 2013 (has links)
This thesis concerns groupwork, Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) and social relationships. The use of the computer, especially when it involves the web, is claimed to be one of the most powerful tools for providing teachers and learners with an interactive and independent learning environment. This claim is justified by the immediate and wide accessed to resources. Although CSCL involves many technologies and functions, it is agreed that its universal feature is to encourage students to seek in-depth learning. The main purpose of this research is to empirically investigate the influences on learning outcomes in CSCL environments, specifically to understand how affordances for collaboration contribute to user experience as well as performance in groupwork; and to study social relationships and how they may affect learning performance. The main motivations behind this research are: 1) contradictions in the literature about the effectiveness of using the technology in groupwork, and 2) the shortcomings of existing collaborative environments, such as a poor sense of presence and limited non-verbal communication. Evaluations of collaborative technology have tended to follow either an ethnographic approach to investigate the context of use in depth, or more focused experimental analyses directed towards specific questions about collaboration. However, this research followed the mixed methods approach which has been successfully applied in HCI (Murphy et al., 1999; Ormerod et al., 2004), so this approach is suitable for investigating CSCL affordances and requirements. A series of seven field studies was conducted, using both quantitative (questionnaires) and qualitative (observations and interviews) methods. Synthesising the analysis of the seven studies involved experimentally comparing the affordances of some existing collaborative technologies (Blackboard and SecondLife). Overall, the results offer four main contributions. First, a conceptual model of the factors that impact performance in CSCL environments is developed, including three main dimensions: technology, group and learner features. Second, the key theoretical findings in this research show that social relationships and overall group activities do not correlate directly with performance, so our results appear to agree with previous findings that social relationships have no positive effect on learning performance. However, some social familiarity does appear to promote group interaction and performance. Comparing the use of technologies with face-to-face collaboration produced a complex picture. The 3D virtual world did not produce the expected benefit, probably because of usability problems encountered with the avatars. In contrast, the text-based virtual world was perceived as being more usable, even though for some groups it was considered to be boring and not a stimulating user experience. Although face-to-face collaboration was expected to be most effective, and indeed it was quickest and rated best on experience and positive emotions, it did not produce more accurate results. Third, was the mixed methods research approach and the discourse analysis method used to analyse the Blackboard threads in this research. Finally, the research provides guidelines for both educators and designers of CSCL environments. Although the exploratory nature of the study resulted in certain limitations, the study enriches existing knowledge in the area of CSCL and provides theoretical, methodological and practical insights that suggest promising opportunities for future research.

Developing scaffolded virtual learning environments for people with autism

Kerr, Steven John January 2005 (has links)
Virtual Environments offer the potential for users to explore social situations and experience different behaviour responses for a variety of simulated social interactions. One of the challenges for the VE developer is how to construct the VE to allow freedom of exploration and flexibility in interactive behaviour, without the risk of users deliberately or inadvertently missing important learning goals. The program has to be structured to guide the user in their learning and to take into account different levels of ability. This embedded ‘scaffolding’ within the VE software can aid the user’s learning in different contexts, such as individual, tutored or group learning situations. This thesis looks at the design and implementation of desktop VEs in a classroom for teaching social skills to people with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). The first part of the thesis looks at work carried out as part of the AS Interactive project, a multidisciplinary research project using User Centred Design principles. VEs developed with the help of teachers and users were constantly refined in an iterative design process with evaluations and observations of the use of the VEs in the classroom to assess the effectiveness of elements used to scaffold the VEs. The last part of the thesis looks at work continued by the author after the end of the AS Interactive project after recommendations in that project for the VEs to fit the needs of the individual. Individualisation is researched with a number of demonstration and prototype VEs developed to help obtain information from autism experts and teachers on how best to individualise a learning VE for people with autism. The outcomes of this thesis include an exploration of the role of the programmer within a multi-disciplinary research group and the iterative development of VEs. A number of recommendations on how to scaffold VEs and make them usable in the classroom are then made. Finally recommendations are made on features and scenarios that could be useful in individualised learning VEs for people with autism and which require further evaluation in a classroom.

Design, development and evaluation of technology enhanced learning environments : learning styles as an evaluation tool for metacognitive skills

Cemal Nat, Muesser January 2012 (has links)
Recognising the powerful role that technology plays in the lives of people, researchers are increasingly focusing on the most effective uses of technology to support learning and teaching. Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) has the potential to support and transform student learning and provides the flexibility of when, where and how to learn. At the same time, it promises to be an effective educational method (Wei and Yan 2009). One of the hottest topics in this field is adaptive learning (Mylonas, Tzouveli and Kollias 2004). Today, with the ability of advanced technologies to capture, store and use student data, it is possible to deliver adaptive learning based on student preferences. TEL can also put students at the centre of the learning process, which allows them to take more responsibility for their own learning. However, this requires students to be metacognitive so they can manage and monitor their learning progress. This thesis investigates the impact of student metacognitive skills on their learning outcomes in terms of recalling and retaining information within a formally designed and TEL environment. The learning outcomes of students who study a subject consistent with their learning styles and another group of students who study the same subject in contrast to their learning styles are then compared to determine which group performs better. Based on this approach, a TEL environment is designed for undergraduate students to use for the purpose of collecting the required experimental data. The results of this study suggest that effective use of metacognitive skills by students has a direct bearing on their learning performance and ability to recall information. The outcomes reveal that successful students use effective metacognitive skills to complete their studies and achieve their learning goals in a TEL environment. Therefore, it clear that metacognition can play a critical role in successful learning, and, furthermore, this approach can assist educationalists in understanding the importance of metacognition in learning and in considering how technology can be used to better to allow students to apply metacognitive skills. The designed TEL environment for this study can be utilised as a precursor to implement TEL environments that can be adapted to individual learning styles, and to support the development of metacognitive skills.

Embedding novel and surprising elements in touch-screen games for children with autism : creating experiences 'worth communicating about'

Alcorn, Alyssa Marie January 2016 (has links)
Relative infrequency of communication initiation, particularly initiations that involve attention-sharing or other social purposes, appears to negatively impact the later-life outcomes of children with autism. Strategies to improve or encourage initiation skills in autism are hampered by the need for the behaviour to be spontaneous (i.e. unprompted by a partner). One potential approach that addresses the spontaneity issue is to extrinsically motivate initiations by changing aspects of the child’s environment such that they merit, or even demand, initiating a communication. Detecting subjectively inconsistent (i.e. discrepant) aspects in game-like virtual contexts appears to be something that inherently interests young children with autism, and can motivate them to initiate spontaneous, positive communications. Initial evidence for discrepancy as a communicative motivator came from a study which re-analysed video data from an existing autism and technology project (ECHOES), illustrating that a heterogeneous group of children all reacted frequently and socially to naturally occurring (i.e. unintentional, non-designed) discrepant aspects within ECHOES. A set of high-level design principles was developed in order to capture “lessons learned” from ECHOES that might facilitate re-creation of a similar pattern of spontaneous, positive initiation around discrepancy. A second, proof-of-concept study implemented these design principles in a set of three new touch-screen games (Andy’s Garden) that sought to establish, and then deliberately violate, child expectations (i.e. provide discrepancy-detection opportunities: DDOs). Children reacted socially and positively to the new games and DDOs. The results of this study allow us to answer its overall questions affirmatively: it is possible to motivate children’s communication–specifically, their initiation–by including deliberately-designed DDOs in a set of games. These findings are the first step towards determining whether discrepancy-detection opportunities may form a component of a future technology-based communication skills intervention, capable of changing children’s initiation behaviour outside of a game context.

Understanding pedagogic collaboration in the online environment

Coker, Helen January 2017 (has links)
Online learning environments are being increasingly utilised in academic settings, with many universities developing online and blended programmes (Adekola, 2016). The student experience, in relation to working with others, when studying online, has been widely researched (Garrison et. al, 2000, Kehrwald, 2008). The tutor experience has not (Arbaugh, 2014). There are now a generation of experienced online tutors, particularly in institutions who were quick to take up online delivery, who have developed expertise teaching online. Their experience and knowledge of practice can add to the research, and knowledge base, on effective online learning. This research observed the role of the online tutor, when utilising collaborative activities in their teaching. An ethnographic observation of online practice was drawn, using an iterative mixed-methods approach. Data from the online space was used to observe the participation patterns of over fifty tutors, and over eight hundred students. Fifteen tutors were then interviewed, ten of whom took part in a subsequent focus group. Taking a narrative approach to analysis, the data gathered painted a rich picture of collaborative online practice. Qualitatively different approaches were observed in tutor's facilitation of collaborative online tools. Tutors were observed to be situated within layers of context, online teaching being culturally situated and mediated by the digital technology utilised. Text-based communications reified dialogue, mediating the interactions between participants. Many of the face-to-face feedback cues which tutors utilised in their teaching were lost in the online environment. The setting was opaque, but at the same time mediated higher levels of disclosure. The online environment challenged traditional physical and temporal boundaries; the responsibility for establishing boundaries becoming that of the tutor, rather than the institution. Tutors drew on previous experiences; their participation was shaped by the situated nature of their practice and their own aspirations for the future. The observation drawn, of pedagogic collaboration, highlighted the social and cultural nature of online participation.

An investigation into decision making within secondary schools on Information and Communications Technology inside the same Northern county of England

Middleton, Andrew R. January 2016 (has links)
In 1997, New Labour introduced a national ICT strategy for schools and went on to spend over £3.54 billion on educational technology. This exploratory study examines whether changes to government funding for educational technology has altered the view of the role of ICT in the thinking of senior leaders. It contrasts views of the role of ICT in the classroom from those in the ‘Edutopian’ school (Chen and Armstrong, 2002) who see it as transformational, innovative and an essential part of preparing children for modern life, with those who adopt a more cautious ‘Dystopian’ narrative as found across the work of a range of academics, such as, Cuban (2001), Selwyn (1999, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2014) and Facer (2011). This exploratory study draws on a small sample of interviews with key decision makers based in different schools that are all located within a single county in the North of England. The findings suggest that ICT remains one of the top five spending priorities for schools who explain this with the use of the Edutopian globalisation and economic arguments. In the study, a minority of key decision makers for ICT had formal training and this was reflected in the range of processes and procedures they adopted. The movement by government away from a centralised planning approach was welcomed across the sample and the loss of some ring-fenced funds was deemed by the ‘rural schools’ to have improved outcomes and created solutions more attuned to local requirements. Edutopian arguments were used by all participants to explain their planning and vision for the future with some desiring to move to ubiquitous or 1:1 tablet teaching solutions.

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