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Supporting student team project work: the Guardian Agent system

Whatley, JE 2009, Supporting student team project work: the Guardian Agent system , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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    Abstract

    The research presented in this thesis investigates student team working, by designing, implementing and evaluating a prototype software system, as an aid for co-located students carrying out their team project work. In higher education team projects are a good way for students to put theory into practice and gain experience of team working, by working collaboratively. But difficulties often arise during the projects, which prevent students from benefiting fully from the experience. Some difficulties are known to arise in organisational teams, and others are unique to student teams, but the getting started stage is crucial for developing team cohesion. Technology tools are used to support the task oriented roles of team working, but there is little support for students to get started on their team projects, and to develop a shared understanding. This prototype system provides a function for allocating tasks of the project to appropriate team members and a function to help the team to agree ground rules for team working. A case study approach was adopted for this research, and the prototype system was developed over three cycles, amending the system according to student feedback. At the end of the study, data obtained from the students was analysed to find out how useful the online support system was for helping the student teams to get started on their projects. The students in this case did benefit from the functions this system provided, in particular the team leaders used the output to help plan their projects, and output from the system contributed to team cohesion through developing a shared understanding between the team members. These students recognised the potential of the system for helping students working on team projects online, and gave suggestions for modifications to the system that could be incorporated in further development of the system.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Software agents, students, higher education, team work, groupwork, team skills, affordance, team project, communication
    Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
    Subjects / Themes > L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
    Subjects / Themes > L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education > LB2341 Supervision and administration. Business management
    Subjects outside of the University Themes
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Business & Law > Salford Business School > Centre for Digital Business
    Depositing User: JE Whatley
    Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2009 10:29
    Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 17:02
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/2693

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