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Accessing Information on the World Wide Web: Predicting Usage Based on Involvement

Description: Advice for Web designers often includes an admonition to use short, scannable, bullet-pointed text, reflecting the common belief that browsing the Web most often involves scanning rather than reading. Literature from several disciplines focuses on the myriad combinations of factors related to online reading but studies of the users' interests and motivations appear to offer a more promising avenue for understanding how users utilize information on Web pages. This study utilized the modified Personal Involvement Inventory (PII), a ten-item instrument used primarily in the marketing and advertising fields, to measure interest and motivation toward a topic presented on the Web. Two sites were constructed from Reader's Digest Association, Inc. online articles and a program written to track students' use of the site. Behavior was measured by the initial choice of short versus longer versions of the main page, the number of pages visited and the amount of time spent on the site. Data were gathered from students at a small, private university in the southwest part of the United States to answer six hypotheses which posited that subjects with higher involvement in a topic presented on the Web and a more positive attitude toward the Web would tend to select the longer text version, visit more pages, and spend more time on the site. While attitude toward the Web did not correlate significantly with any of the behavioral factors, the level of involvement was associated with the use of the sites in two of three hypotheses, but only partially in the manner hypothesized. Increased involvement with a Web topic did correlate with the choice of a longer, more detailed initial Web page, but was inversely related to the number of pages viewed so that the higher the involvement, the fewer pages visited. An additional indicator of usage, the average amount ...
Date: May 2003
Creator: Langford, James David

The Adoption and Use of Electronic Information Resources by a Non-Traditional User Group: Automotive Service Technicians.

Description: The growing complexity of machines has led to a concomitant increase in the amount and complexity of the information needed by those charged with servicing them. This, in turn, has led to a need for more robust methods for storing and distributing information and for a workforce more sophisticated in its use of information resources. As a result, the service trades have "professionalized," adopting more rigorous academic standards and developing ongoing certification programs. The current paper deals with the acceptance of advanced electronic information technology by skilled service personnel, specifically, automotive service technicians. The theoretical basis of the study is Davis' technology acceptance model. The purpose of the study is to determine the effects of three external factors on the operation of the model: age, work experience, and education/certification level. The research design is in two parts, beginning with an onsite observation and interviews to establish the environment. During the second part of the research process a survey was administered to a sample of automotive service technicians. Results indicated significant inverse relationships between age and acceptance and between experience and acceptance. A significant positive relationship was shown between education, particularly certification, and acceptance.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Almquist, Arne J.

Assessment of a Library Learning Theory by Measuring Library Skills of Students Completing an Online Library Instruction Tutorial

Description: This study is designed to reveal whether students acquire the domains and levels of library skills discussed in a learning library skills theory after participating in an online library instruction tutorial. The acquisition of the library skills is demonstrated through a review of the scores on online tutorial quizzes, responses to a library skills questionnaire, and bibliographies of course research papers. Additional areas to be studied are the characteristics of the participants enrolled in traditional and online courses at a community college and the possible influence of these characteristics on the demonstrated learning of library skills. Multiple measurement methods, identified through assessment of library instruction literature, are used to verify the effectiveness of the library skills theory and to strengthen the validity and reliability of the study results.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Watson, Dana L.

Citation Accuracy in the Journal Literature of Four Disciplines : Chemistry, Psychology, Library Science, and English and American Literature

Description: The primary purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between the bibliographic citation practices of the members of a discipline and the emphasis placed on citation accuracy and purposes in the graduate instruction of the discipline.
Date: May 1992
Creator: Sassen, Catherine J. (Catherine Jean)

The Cluster Hypothesis: A Visual/Statistical Analysis

Description: By allowing judgments based on a small number of exemplar documents to be applied to a larger number of unexamined documents, clustered presentation of search results represents an intuitively attractive possibility for reducing the cognitive resource demands on human users of information retrieval systems. However, clustered presentation of search results is sensible only to the extent that naturally occurring similarity relationships among documents correspond to topically coherent clusters. The Cluster Hypothesis posits just such a systematic relationship between document similarity and topical relevance. To date, experimental validation of the Cluster Hypothesis has proved problematic, with collection-specific results both supporting and failing to support this fundamental theoretical postulate. The present study consists of two computational information visualization experiments, representing a two-tiered test of the Cluster Hypothesis under adverse conditions. Both experiments rely on multidimensionally scaled representations of interdocument similarity matrices. Experiment 1 is a term-reduction condition, in which descriptive titles are extracted from Associated Press news stories drawn from the TREC information retrieval test collection. The clustering behavior of these titles is compared to the behavior of the corresponding full text via statistical analysis of the visual characteristics of a two-dimensional similarity map. Experiment 2 is a dimensionality reduction condition, in which inter-item similarity coefficients for full text documents are scaled into a single dimension and then rendered as a two-dimensional visualization; the clustering behavior of relevant documents within these unidimensionally scaled representations is examined via visual and statistical methods. Taken as a whole, results of both experiments lend strong though not unqualified support to the Cluster Hypothesis. In Experiment 1, semantically meaningful 6.6-word document surrogates systematically conform to the predictions of the Cluster Hypothesis. In Experiment 2, the majority of the unidimensionally scaled datasets exhibit a marked nonuniformity of distribution of relevant documents, further supporting the Cluster Hypothesis. Results of ...
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Date: May 2000
Creator: Sullivan, Terry

A Comparative Analysis of Style of User Interface Look and Feel in a Synchronous Computer Supported Cooperative Work Environment

Description: The purpose of this study is to determine whether the style of a user interface (i.e., its look and feel) has an effect on the usability of a synchronous computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) environment for delivering Internet-based collaborative content. The problem motivating this study is that people who are located in different places need to be able to communicate with one another. One way to do this is by using complex computer tools that allow users to share information, documents, programs, etc. As an increasing number of business organizations require workers to use these types of complex communication tools, it is important to determine how users regard these types of tools and whether they are perceived to be useful. If a tool, or interface, is not perceived to be useful then it is often not used, or used ineffectively. As organizations strive to improve communication with and among users by providing more Internet-based collaborative environments, the users' experience in this form of delivery may be tied to a style of user interface look and feel that could negatively affect their overall acceptance and satisfaction of the collaborative environment. The significance of this study is that it applies the technology acceptance model (TAM) as a tool for evaluating style of user interface look and feel in a collaborative environment, and attempts to predict which factors of that model, perceived ease of use and/or perceived usefulness, could lead to better acceptance of collaborative tools within an organization.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Livingston, Alan

Coyote Ugly Librarian: A Participant Observer Examination of Lnowledge Construction in Reality TV.

Description: Reality TV is the most popular genre of television programming today. The number of reality television shows has grown exponentially over the last fifteen years since the premier of The Real World in 1992. Although reality TV uses styles similar to those used in documentary film, the “reality” of the shows is questioned by critics and viewers alike. The current study focuses on the “reality” that is presented to viewers and how that “reality” is created and may differ from what the participants of the shows experience. I appeared on two reality shows, Faking It and That's Clever, and learned a great deal as a participant observer. Within the study, I outline my experience and demonstrate how editing changed the reality I experienced into what was presented to the viewers. O'Connor's (1996) representation context web serves as a model for the realities created through reality television. People derive various benefits from watching reality TV. Besides the obvious entertainment value of reality TV, viewers also gather information via this type of programming. Viewers want to see real people on television reacting to unusual circumstances without the use of scripts. By surveying reality TV show viewers and participants, this study gives insight into how real the viewers believe the shows are and how authentic they actually are. If these shows are presented as reality, viewers are probably taking what they see as historical fact. The results of the study indicate more must be done so that the “reality” of reality TV does not misinform viewers.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Holmes, Haley K.

Creating a Criterion-Based Information Agent Through Data Mining for Automated Identification of Scholarly Research on the World Wide Web

Description: This dissertation creates an information agent that correctly identifies Web pages containing scholarly research approximately 96% of the time. It does this by analyzing the Web page with a set of criteria, and then uses a classification tree to arrive at a decision. The criteria were gathered from the literature on selecting print and electronic materials for academic libraries. A Delphi study was done with an international panel of librarians to expand and refine the criteria until a list of 41 operationalizable criteria was agreed upon. A Perl program was then designed to analyze a Web page and determine a numerical value for each criterion. A large collection of Web pages was gathered comprising 5,000 pages that contain the full work of scholarly research and 5,000 random pages, representative of user searches, which do not contain scholarly research. Datasets were built by running the Perl program on these Web pages. The datasets were split into model building and testing sets. Data mining was then used to create different classification models. Four techniques were used: logistic regression, nonparametric discriminant analysis, classification trees, and neural networks. The models were created with the model datasets and then tested against the test dataset. Precision and recall were used to judge the effectiveness of each model. In addition, a set of pages that were difficult to classify because of their similarity to scholarly research was gathered and classified with the models. The classification tree created the most effective classification model, with a precision ratio of 96% and a recall ratio of 95.6%. However, logistic regression created a model that was able to correctly classify more of the problematic pages. This agent can be used to create a database of scholarly research published on the Web. In addition, the technique can be used to create a ...
Date: May 2000
Creator: Nicholson, Scott

Diagnosing Learner Deficiencies in Algorithmic Reasoning

Description: It is hypothesized that useful diagnostic information can reside in the wrong answers of multiple-choice tests, and that properly designed distractors can yield indications of misinformation and missing information in algorithmic reasoning on the part of the test taker. In addition to summarizing the literature regarding diagnostic research as opposed to scoring research, this study proposes a methodology for analyzing test results and compares the findings with those from the research of Birenbaum and Tatsuoka and others. The proposed method identifies the conditions of misinformation and missing information, and it contains a statistical compensation for careless errors. Strengths and weaknesses of the method are explored, and suggestions for further research are offered.
Date: May 1995
Creator: Hubbard, George U.

The Effect of Information Literacy Instruction on Library Anxiety Among International Students

Description: This study explored what effect information literacy instruction (ILI) may have on both a generalized anxiety state and library anxiety specifically. The population studied was international students using resources in a community college. Library anxiety among international students begins with certain barriers that cause anxiety (i.e., language/communication barriers, adjusting to a new education/library system and general cultural adjustments). Library Anxiety is common among college students and is characterized by feelings of negative emotions including, ruminations, tension, fear and mental disorganization (Jiao & Onwuegbuzie, 1999a). This often occurs when a student contemplates conducting research in a library and is due to any number of perceived inabilities about using the library. In order for students to become successful in their information seeking behavior this anxiety needs to be reduced. The study used two groups of international students enrolled in the English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) program taking credit courses. Each student completed Bostick's Library Anxiety Scale (LAS) and Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) to assess anxiety level before and after treatment. Subjects were given a research assignment that required them to use library resources. Treatment: Group 1 (experimental group) attended several library instruction classes (the instruction used Kuhltau's information search process model). Group 2 (control group) was in the library working on assignment but did not receive any formal library instruction. After the treatment the researcher and ESOL program instructor(s) measured the level of anxiety between groups. ANCOVA was used to analyze Hypotheses 1 and 2, which compared pretest and posttest for each group. Research assignment grades were used to analyze Hypothesis 3 comparing outcomes among the two groups. The results of the analysis ascertained that ILI was associated with reducing state and library anxiety among international students when given an assignment using library resources.
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Date: May 2004
Creator: Battle, Joel C.

The Effectiveness of Using Lego Mindstorms Robotics Activities to Influence Self-regulated Learning in a University Introductory Computer Programming Course.

Description: The research described in this dissertation examines the possible link between self-regulated learning and LEGO Mindstorms robotics activities in teaching concepts in an introductory university computer programming course. The areas of student motivation, learning strategies, and mastery of course objectives are investigated. In all three cases analysis failed to reveal any statistically significant differences between the traditional control group and the experimental LEGO Mindstorms group as measured by the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire and course exams. Possible reasons for the lack of positive results include technical problems and limitations of the LEGO Mindstorms systems, limited number and availability of robots outside of class, limited amount of time during the semester for the robotics activities, and a possible difference in effectiveness based on gender. Responses to student follow-up questions, however, suggest that at least some of the students really enjoyed the LEGO activities. As with any teaching tool or activity, there are numerous ways in which LEGO Mindstorms can be incorporated into learning. This study explores whether or not LEGO Mindstorms are an effective tool for teaching introductory computer programming at the university level and how these systems can best be utilized.
Date: May 2008
Creator: McWhorter, William Isaac

The Effects of Increased Equipment Speed on Online Database Searching Practices

Description: This study reports changes in online database searching at North Texas State University when equipment speed was increased. Data were from database vendor invoices and price and sale data of online equipment. The hypotheses examined the relationship between the decrease in the cost of online equipment and the change to faster online equipment and the change in the number of databases that changed for online types. The change in equipment was related to changes in the number of offline prints per hour, the average time per search, the average number of descriptors per search, the number of searches per month, and the rank order of database use over the studied period. The increase in the number of databases with billed types was related to the number of online billed types produced. The number of prints was related to the number of billed types. Time spent online was examined for annual seasonal cycles. The major statistical tool was time-series analysis, although other methods were applied.
Date: May 1987
Creator: Masters, Gary E. (Gary Everett)

The Effects of Task-Based Documentation Versus Online Help Menu Documentation on the Acceptance of Information Technology

Description: The objectives of this study were (1) to identify and describe task-based documentation; (2) to identify and describe any purported changes in users attitudes when IT migration was preceded by task-based documentation; (3) to suggest implications of task-based documentation on users attitude toward IT acceptance. Questionnaires were given to 150 university students. Of these, all 150 students participated in this study. The study determined the following: (1) if favorable pre-implementation attitudes toward a new e-mail system increase, as a result of training, if users expect it to be easy to learn and use; (2) if user acceptance of an e-mail program increase as expected perceived usefulness increase as delineated by task-based documentation; (3) if task-based documentation is more effective than standard help menus while learning a new application program; and (4) if training that requires active student participation increase the acceptance of a new e-mail system. The following conclusions were reached: (1) Positive pre-implementation attitudes toward a new e-mail system are not affected by training even if the users expect it to be easy to learn and use. (2) User acceptance of an e-mail program does not increase as perceived usefulness increase when aided by task-based documentation. (3) Task-based documentation is not more effective than standard help menus when learning a new application program. (4) Training that requires active student participation does not increase the acceptance of a new e-mail system.
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Date: May 1999
Creator: Bell, Thomas

An Empirical Investigation of Critical Factors that Influence Data Warehouse Implementation Success in Higher Educational Institutions

Description: Data warehousing (DW) in the last decade has become the technology of choice for building data management infrastructures to provide organizations the decision-making capabilities needed to effectively carry out its activities. Despite its phenomenal growth and importance to organizations the rate of DW implementation success has been less than stellar. Many DW implementation projects fail due to technical or organizational reasons. There has been limited research on organizational factors and their role in DW implementations. It is important to understand the role and impact of both technical but organizational factors in DW implementations and their relative importance to implementation performance. A research model was developed to test the significance of technical and organizational factors in the three phases of implementation with DW implementation performance. The independent variables were technical (data, technology, and expertise) and organizational (management, goals, users, organization). The dependent variable was performance (content, accuracy, format, ease of use, and timeliness). The data collection method was a Web based survey of DW implementers and DW users sampled (26) from a population of 108 identified DW implementations. Regression was used as the multivariate statistical technique to analyze the data. The results show that organization factors are significantly related to performance. Also, that some variables in the post-implementation phase have a significant relationship with performance. Based on the results of the tests the model was revised to reflect the relative impact of technical and organizational factors on DW performance. Results suggest that in some cases organizational factors have a significant relationship with DW implementation performance. The implications and interpretation of these results provide researchers and practitioners' insights and a new perspective in the area of DW implementations.
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Date: May 2003
Creator: Mukherjee, Debasish

An Examination of Selected Product Characteristics Associated with the Sales Success of Nontheatrical Film and Video Works

Description: The purpose of this study was to test assumptions made about characteristics of nontheatrical film and video works that were thought to contribute to the frequency with which the works were purchased. This study proposed and tested three variables for which relationships to the sales success of nontheatrical film and video works were hypothesized, as well as four variables about which no hypotheses were forwarded. Nineteen film and video distribution organizations contributed unit sales data for the period 1982-1987 on 151 works copyrighted between 1982 and 1984. These data were analyzed for relationships between sales totals and 1) curricular significance of the works' subjects, 2) relevance to general reading interest in the works' subjects, 3) intensity of competition faced by the works, 4) the works' Dewey classifications as compared to the composition of typical K-12 school library book collections, 5) the series or non-series status of the works, 6) the media format(s) in which the works were available for purchase and 7) the sources of the works' production financing. Analyses of correlation and association were performed and no significant relationships were found between sales and curricular significance of the works' subjects, or their relevance to general reading interest. Some evidence was presented to suggest a significant association between the intensity of competition faced by a work and its eventual sales. None of the hypotheses about these variables was supported. However, the four remaining variables were found to be significant, or to approach significance, as correlates or associates of sales success. The best predictor of sales for works intended for the K-12 school market was the work's Dewey Decimal classification. Other important findings included associations between high sales and intense product competition, between high sales and non-series status, between high sales and availability for purchase in 16mm film and between high ...
Date: May 1990
Creator: Munde, Gail Marie

An Examination Of The Variation In Information Systems Project Cost Estimates: The Case Of Year 2000 Compliance Projects

Description: The year 2000 (Y2K) problem presented a fortuitous opportunity to explore the relationship between estimated costs of software projects and five cost influence dimensions described by the Year 2000 Enterprise Cost Model (Kappelman, et al., 1998) -- organization, problem, solution, resources, and stage of completion. This research was a field study survey of (Y2K) project managers in industry, government, and education and part of a joint project that began in 1996 between the University of North Texas and the Y2K Working Group of the Society for Information Management (SIM). Evidence was found to support relationships between estimated costs and organization, problem, resources, and project stage but not for the solution dimension. Project stage appears to moderate the relationships for organization, particularly IS practices, and resources. A history of superior IS practices appears to mean lower estimated costs, especially for projects in larger IS organizations. Acquiring resources, especially external skills, appears to increase costs. Moreover, projects apparently have many individual differences, many related to size and to project stage, and their influences on costs appear to be at the sub-dimension or even the individual variable level. A Revised Year 2000 Enterprise Model is presented incorporating this granularity. Two primary conclusions can be drawn from this research: (1) large software projects are very complex and thus cost estimating is also; and (2) the devil of cost estimating is in the details of knowing which of the many possible variables are the important ones for each particular enterprise and project. This points to the importance of organizations keeping software project metrics and the historical calibration of cost-estimating practices. Project managers must understand the relevant details and their interaction and importance in order to successfully develop a cost estimate for a particular project, even when rational cost models are used. This research also indicates ...
Date: May 2000
Creator: Fent, Darla

An Experimental Study of Teachers' Verbal and Nonverbal Immediacy, Student Motivation, and Cognitive Learning in Video Instruction

Description: This study used an experimental design and a direct test of recall to provide data about teacher immediacy and student cognitive learning. Four hypotheses and a research question addressed two research problems: first, how verbal and nonverbal immediacy function together and/or separately to enhance learning; and second, how immediacy affects cognitive learning in relation to student motivation. These questions were examined in the context of video instruction to provide insight into distance learning processes and to ensure maximum control over experimental manipulations. Participants (N = 347) were drawn from university students in an undergraduate communication course. Students were randomly assigned to groups, completed a measure of state motivation, and viewed a 15-minute video lecture containing part of the usual course content delivered by a guest instructor. Participants were unaware that the video instructor was actually performing one of four scripted manipulations reflecting higher and lower combinations of specific verbal and nonverbal cues, representing the four cells of the 2x2 research design. Immediately after the lecture, students completed a recall measure, consisting of portions of the video text with blanks in the place of key words. Participants were to fill in the blanks with exact words they recalled from the videotape. Findings strengthened previous research associating teacher nonverbal immediacy with enhanced cognitive learning outcomes. However, higher verbal immediacy, in the presence of higher and lower nonverbal immediacy, was not shown to produce greater learning among participants in this experiment. No interaction effects were found between higher and lower levels of verbal and nonverbal immediacy. Recall scores were comparatively low in the presence of higher verbal and lower nonverbal immediacy, suggesting that nonverbal expectancy violations may have hindered cognitive learning. Student motivation was not found to be a significant source of error in measuring immediacy's effects, and no interaction effects were detected ...
Date: May 2000
Creator: Witt, Paul L.

Factors Influencing Older Adults' Patterns of Information Acquisition

Description: A group of 101 older adults (sixty-five years of age and over) who lived independently in three retirement apartment residences in Denton, Texas, were asked about their patterns of reading, television viewing, and radio listening habits for two periods in their lives: (1) at age forty to fifty-five and (2) at the present. Respondents were asked about their use of external information sources (public library, grocery store, newsstand, etc.) and their use of proximate information sources (radio, friends/relatives, television, etc.) They were also asked about access to transportation, income satisfaction, status of general health, vision, hearing, physical mobility and reasons for utilizing various information sources. Four hypotheses relating changes in health, environment, economic status, and education to reasons for reading and use of information sources were tested through the use of t-tests, regression analysis and analysis of variance. Within this group of older adults, use of external information sources decreased from the past to the present. There was, however, no change in the use of information sources located in or near the residence as difficulties in these areas increased. A relationship was found between educational level and reading for pleasure earlier in life. Also, those with higher educational levels reported fewer differences in their reasons for reading in the present and in the past.
Date: May 1989
Creator: Barnett, Mary Jane, 1952-

Factors Related to Mississippi School Library Media Centers in Multitype Cooperation

Description: The main purpose of this study was to identify the major obstacles to cooperation as perceived by school library media specialists in the state of Mississippi and to determine if members of the Coastal Mississippi Library Cooperative (CMLC) believe that there are fewer obstacles to cooperation than do non-members. The secondary purpose was to evaluate the CMLC to some extent to determine if success was achieved through organization when defined by the variables, planning, governance, funding, communication, administration, and evaluation. The population of the study was all of the librarians (academic, public, school, and special) in the six-county area which comprises the CMLC, and a random sample of public school librarians throughout the remainder of the state. All of the school librarians were sent a questionnaire that requested their responses to statements of barriers to cooperation. All of the librarians in the CMLC region were sent a questionnaire to obtain their perceptions of participation in the CMLC. Pour librarians, members of the CMLC, were Interviewed to obtain information on the organizational factors of the CMLC. Data received from school library media specialists were submitted to various statistical tests. The Chi-Square statistic was used on the demographic portion of the questionnaire, which revealed that four of the variables and the dependent variable, membership in the CMLC, were significantly different. A t-test performed on the barriers to cooperation section produced no significant differences between the member and non-member responses. The perceptions of participation in the CMLC data revealed that there were differences among the four library systems (academic, public, school, and special) involved, but most of the respondents considered the CMLC to be successful. Data from the interview also revealed that the CMLC was successful in its organization. Due to the overall low response to the survey, the stated hypotheses could not ...
Date: May 1988
Creator: Partridge, Margaret

Factors Related to the Professional Progress of Academic Librarians in Louisiana

Description: Three groups of Academic librarians in Louisiana were surveyed to determine what factors other than job performance influenced professional progress (Salary increases, promotion and tenure) for them. Staff development activities were also investigated to determine if they played any significant role in influencing professional progress. Three opinion questions were also asked in this investigation about the feasibility of using an index that was developed to assess quantitatively staff development activities.
Date: May 1991
Creator: Brazile, Orella Ramsey, 1945-

Functional Ontology Construction: A Pragmatic Approach to Addressing Problems Concerning the Individual and the Informing Environment

Description: Functional ontology construction (FOC) is an approach for modeling the relationships between a user and the informing environment by means of analysis of the user's behavior and the elements of the environment that have behavioral function. The FOC approach is an application of behavior analytic techniques and concepts to problems within information science. The FOC approach is both an alternative and a compliment to the cognitive viewpoint commonly found in models of behavior in information science. The basis for the synthesis of behavior analysis and information science is a shared tradition of pragmatism between the fields. The application of behavior analytic concepts brings with it the notion of selection by consequence. Selection is examined on the biological, behavioral, and cultural levels. Two perspicuous examples of the application of the FOC modeling approach are included. The first example looks at the document functioning as a reinforcer in a human operant experimental setting. The second example is an examination of the verbal behavior of expert film analyst, Raymond Bellour, the structure of a film he analyzed, and the elements of the film's structure that had behavioral function for Bellour. The FOC approach is examined within the ontological space of information science.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Anderson, Richard L.

Identifying At-Risk Students: An Assessment Instrument for Distributed Learning Courses in Higher Education

Description: The current period of rapid technological change, particularly in the area of mediated communication, has combined with new philosophies of education and market forces to bring upheaval to the realm of higher education. Technical capabilities exceed our knowledge of whether expenditures on hardware and software lead to corresponding gains in student learning. Educators do not yet possess sophisticated assessments of what we may be gaining or losing as we widen the scope of distributed learning. The purpose of this study was not to draw sweeping conclusions with respect to the costs or benefits of technology in education. The researcher focused on a single issue involved in educational quality: assessing the ability of a student to complete a course. Previous research in this area indicates that attrition rates are often higher in distributed learning environments. Educators and students may benefit from a reliable instrument to identify those students who may encounter difficulty in these learning situations. This study is aligned with research focused on the individual engaged in seeking information, assisted or hindered by the capabilities of the computer information systems that create and provide access to information. Specifically, the study focused on the indicators of completion for students enrolled in video conferencing and Web-based courses. In the final version, the Distributed Learning Survey encompassed thirteen indicators of completion. The results of this study of 396 students indicated that the Distributed Learning Survey represented a reliable and valid instrument for identifying at-risk students in video conferencing and Web-based courses where the student population is similar to the study participants. Educational level, GPA, credit hours taken in the semester, study environment, motivation, computer confidence, and the number of previous distributed learning courses accounted for most of the predictive power in the discriminant function based on student scores from the survey.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Osborn, Viola

The Impact of Predisposition Towards Group Work on Intention to Use a CSCW System

Description: Groupware packages are increasingly being used to support content delivery, class discussion, student to student and student to faculty interactions and group work on projects. This research focused on groupware packages that are used to support students who are located in different places, but who are assigned group projects as part of their coursework requirements. In many cases, students are being asked to use unfamiliar technologies that are very different from those that support personal productivity. For example, computer-assisted cooperative work (CSCW) technology is different from other more traditional, stand-alone software applications because it requires the user to interact with the computer as well as other users. However, familiarity with the technology is not the only requirement for successful completion of a group assigned project. For a group to be successful, it must also have a desire to work together on the project. If this pre-requisite is not present within the group, then the technology will only create additional communication and coordination barriers. How much of an impact does each of these factors have on the acceptance of CSCW technology? The significance of this study is threefold. First, this research contributed to how a user's predisposition toward group work affects their acceptance of CSCW technology. Second, it helped identify ways to overcome some of the obstacles associated with group work and the use of CSCW technology in an academic online environment. Finally, it helped identify early adopters of CSCW software and how these users can form the critical mass required to diffuse the technology. This dissertation reports the impact of predisposition toward group work and prior computer experience on the intention to use synchronous CSCW. It was found that predisposition toward group work was not only positively associated to perceived usefulness; it was also related to intention to use. It ...
Date: May 2005
Creator: Reyna, Josephine

Improving Recall of Browsing Sets in Image Retrieval from a Semiotics Perspective

Description: The purpose of dissertation is to utilize connotative messages for enhancing image retrieval and browsing. By adopting semiotics as a theoretical tool, this study explores problems of image retrieval and proposes an image retrieval model. The semiotics approach conceptually demonstrates that: 1) a fundamental reason for the dissonance between retrieved images and user needs is representation of connotative messages, and 2) the image retrieval model which makes use of denotative index terms is able to facilitate users to browse connotatively related images effectively even when the users' needs are potentially expressed in the form of denotative query. Two experiments are performed for verifying the semiotic-based image retrieval model and evaluating the effectiveness of the model. As data sources, 5,199 records are collected from Artefacts Canada: Humanities by Canadian Heritage Information Network, and the candidate terms of connotation and denotation are extracted from Art & Architecture Thesaurus. The first experiment, by applying term association measures, verifies that the connotative messages of an image can be derived from denotative messages of the image. The second experiment reveals that the association thesaurus which is constructed based on the associations between connotation and denotation facilitates assigning connotative terms to image documents. In addition, the result of relevant judgments presents that the association thesaurus improves the relative recall of retrieved image documents as well as the relative recall of browsing sets. This study concludes that the association thesaurus indicating associations between connotation and denotation is able to improve the accessibility of the connotative messages. The results of the study are hoped to contribute to the conceptual knowledge of image retrieval by providing understandings of connotative messages within an image and to the practical design of image retrieval system by proposing an association thesaurus which can supplement the limitations of the current content-based image retrieval systems ...
Date: May 2006
Creator: Yoon, JungWon