Using collaborative filtering based recommendations to promote the social nature of online learning
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Despite the supporting literature on the social nature of learning (Vygotsky, 1978; Bandura, 1977; Wenger, 1998), the online teaching environments at many of our colleges and universities still do not fully embraced the importance of social interactions in regards to learning. In response to this problem the Reid Activity Recommendation (REACTIR) mechanism was created to enhance the social nature of online learning within three course sites at a large Midwestern university. Leveraging the Tsai et al. (2008) framework for exploring the social nature of online learning, the REACTIR mechanism was designed to specifically impact the constructs of social ability, technology acceptance, and course usage. The results concluded that none of the major constructs of the social nature of online learning were impacted by the current REACTIR design. However, the quantitative findings did reveal that REACTIR positively impacted peer social presence in the larger course in the study, especially for individuals with low course usage. Additionally, almost 41% of the participants indicated that the REACTIR mechanism was at least somewhat useful. Finally, the qualitative analysis concluded that the attributes of the learning environment, as well as individual learner characteristics (e.g. student approach to learning) may play key roles in a course activity recommendation system and should be considered in future designs.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri--Columbia.