ICT-supported peer interaction among learners in Bachelor's and Master's thesis courses

  • Aghaee N
  • Keller C
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Abstract

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 the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV), at Stockholm University. 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, 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.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Collaborative learning
  • Higher education
  • Peer interaction
  • Peer review
  • Thesis process

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Authors

  • Naghmeh Aghaee

  • Christina Keller

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