About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1996-2007
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain

EXPLORING THE USABILITY OF COLLABORATIVE INTERFACES AND USERS’ PREFERENCE IN COMBINING RESOURCES FOR TECHNICAL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION

D. Roy

University of Aizu (JAPAN)
This paper examines students’ behavioral and cognitive practices when using open-source learning management systems and free document production systems for technical document production. This paper argues that understanding the various ways of combining open-source interfaces and textual resources (hardcopy or softcopy) for developing technical documents can help instructional designers understand the needs of the user and how the resources are socially and technically managed. This will in turn, help designers understand the scope for designing on-screen affordances that might smoothen the process of collaborative document production. Specifically, this study reflected on the possible design of blended-learning oriented technical thesis writing courses as a case study. However, the facts, arguments and recommendations were generalized for similar courses and documents. This research will contribute towards understanding how students proficient in computer-science handle the technology interface and use it for collaborative projects and solve rhetorical challenges in an EFL environment.

Some major findings from the study are reported below:

- Students use LMS like Moodle for multiple purposes during the in-class exercise, for e.g., posting assignment, reading instructions, re-visit class lectures etc.
- Majority of respondents read the full instructions first before jumping into active planning or moving on to an online editor (Google docs) for writing purposes. However, some participants responded to have read instructions in terms of individual paragraphs and sub-headings, one at a time and then reflecting on the possible course of action.
- In terms of switching attention and activity between the different interfaces, majority responded that they opened an account in Google docs and worked mostly on the Google docs during the 90 minute session, infrequently using other interfaces (Moodle, Concept map drawing, articles, translating services).
- When readers were asked to self-reflect on the use of Google docs when used in conjunction with Moodle, some responded that they see Google docs as a major editing tool or a support tool and all or some writing drafts were first completed in Google docs before submitting the assignment in Moodle forum. However, there was no unanimous agreement on the response.
- Majority responded that they checked the progress made on the in-class exercise by writing one paragraph at a time in Google docs and went back to the articles and the assignment instructions in Moodle to check whether the necessary information was adequately covered.
- Participant responses show that majority agrees that this coordinated activity between different interfaces leads to improved understanding of the Google docs interface and the substance of the scholarly articles.

The findings will be elaborately discussed in the proceedings paper. The paper will explore possible reasons behind student performance, how it is influenced by the course structure, and what the self-reports possibly suggest. Based on the findings, concrete recommendations would be made on how to design interfaces that can facilitate the process of coordination and integration.

@InProceedings{ROY2009EXP,
author = {Roy, D.},
title = {EXPLORING THE USABILITY OF COLLABORATIVE INTERFACES AND USERS’ PREFERENCE IN COMBINING RESOURCES FOR TECHNICAL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {1996-2007}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Roy
TI - EXPLORING THE USABILITY OF COLLABORATIVE INTERFACES AND USERS’ PREFERENCE IN COMBINING RESOURCES FOR TECHNICAL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 1996
EP - 2007
ER -
D. Roy (2009) EXPLORING THE USABILITY OF COLLABORATIVE INTERFACES AND USERS’ PREFERENCE IN COMBINING RESOURCES FOR TECHNICAL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION, INTED2009 Proceedings, pp. 1996-2007.
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