University of Warwick (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 557-564
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
A recent nationwide survey in the UK has revealed that student-induced collaboration problems exist widely in web-based collaborative group work for undergraduate computing-related education which uses asynchronous collaboration tools. Assessing these collaboration problems can assist teachers or moderators to understand and evaluate how individual students perform in a collaborative group as well as help students to reflect on their own learning actions.

A number of studies have indicated that quantitative data resulting from student interactions with an asynchronous collaboration tool, such as a forum, can account for the behaviours of individual students and collaborative groups. This poses a question on which aspects of student usages of such a tool predict group collaboration problems.

This paper investigates the role of various student interactions with a learning forum in order to ascertain the existence of different group collaboration problems. A particular focus of interest has been learning forums, since forums have become broadly adopted tools to support online group collaboration. The types of collaboration problems were drawn from previous research that identified the main student-induced collaboration problems.

A data set was collected for 87 undergraduates who participated in a web-based computer science group project. It consists of two kinds of data. The first is student interaction data which were collected from a learning forum system on which the group project was undertaken. The second is the data relating to assessment of group collaboration problems, and were gathered through a questionnaire delivered to the students who participated in the group project.

Multinomial logistic regression analysis has been applied for modelling the relationship between a response variable corresponding to the existence of a group collaboration problem and several predictor variables representing various student interactions with a learning forum.

A set of predictive models were produced by the regression analysis, each representing a statistically significant combination of student interactions that predict the existence of one of the collaboration problems in question. The findings reveal that indicators including the number of posts that were created and replied to by individual students, and the number of times that a student viewed a discussion on a learning forum, contribute significantly in predicting the collaboration problems which were identified. The results also demonstrate that how the existence of a problem fluctuates with the alterations in the value of an indicator variable.

The goodness-of-fit of the identified predictive models was measured by the Pearson chi-square test and the results of this test indicate that the models fit the sample data well. The average rate of correct classification by the models was approximately 80%, which means the regression method performs well on the sample data set.

The outcomes of this research can help teachers to assess problems in web-based collaborative group work and also can be used to develop tools for automatically diagnosing group collaboration problems in web-based collaborative learning environments.
Group collaboration problems prediction, learning forum, undergraduate group project, multinomial logistical regression, predictive model.