REDESIGN AND EVALUATION OF A TECHNOLOGY ENHANCED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR THESIS SUPERVISION

K. Ahlin, P. Mozelius

Mid Sweden University (SWEDEN)
Thesis supervision is an important activity in higher education with Bachelor's and Master's theses mandatory parts of university programmes. In traditional education, thesis supervision has been a face-to-face activity, but today, both the student groups and the learning environments are blended. This study describes and discusses the design and implementation of a blended learning environment for a blended student group at Mid Sweden University. The research question that the study aims to answer is: Which are the key factors in the design of a course for undergraduate students, to facilitate supervision of thesis projects in a technology enhanced environment?

This study employed a Design science research strategy with three phases for design, implementation and evaluation of a blended learning environment during thesis supervision. For the first phase, design requirements were specified based on document studies and a literature review. In the second phase (first part), the created design requirements were implemented as an instance in the Moodle virtual learning environment. Second phase (second part), the implemented instance was used as the online part of a blended learning course for students writing their Bachelor's thesis. In the third phase an evaluation was carried out with an online questionnaire were students gave their opinions on course design and teaching and learning sessions.

Findings show that the learning outcomes were good and that the course aim and the learning objectives were clearly stated. Found key factors for a successful supervision were online learning activities, student – facilitator interaction and group seminars with constructive peer reviews. Challenges that remains are to improve student – student interaction, improve course content and to motivate students for research in the field of Informatics. Most surprising positive finding was that that two thirds of the students perceived that the knowledge acquired during the course will be useful in their future professional work.