Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The sharing of academic content through the use of the RoboBooks website
by Sneeringer, Peter A., M.S., Tufts University, 2010, 141; 1481065
Abstract (Summary)

A disconnect exists between the ideologies for problem solving in the engineering industry, where teams of engineers work together to achieve a goal, and in academics, where students are often assessed on their individual achievements. This research focuses on one means of beginning to address this ideological gap, by looking at student sharing of their academic material. Sharing is defined as the exchange of information between individuals who may benefit from seeing the work being produced by their peers. Sharing is not synonymous with collaboration though, because these students are not working together to create a single output; the individuals create their own end products. This research creates a model of how students share with each other, both in person and online. A RoboBooks website was introduced as an online tool to support student sharing. Based on the usage of this website, the results offer suggestions for the development of functionality to promote sharing of material through a website.

Specifically, the results show that simply supplying the students with the RoboBooks website isn’t enough to make them use it for sharing; on average they downloaded less than 1 student RoboBook per week, when at least 1 per week was expected. When given instruction to share, 88% of students express a preference to do so in person but 90% use the website to gather important information quickly. 71% of students polled rank the RoboBooks website above other online sharing technologies. Key functionality for a sharing website includes: real-time communication between members, images and descriptions of content, and the ability to upload and retrieve content.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rogers, Chris B.
Commitee: Hannon, Daniel, Jacob, Robert
School: Tufts University
Department: Mechanical Engineering
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: MAI 49/01M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Information Technology, Mechanical engineering
Publication Number: 1481065
ISBN: 978-1-124-21248-7
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