Understanding participation and its relationship with arthritis self-efficacy in a computer-supported community of practice for rheumatoid arthritis patients
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This study was a descriptive case study with the goal of understanding participation in a computer-supported community of practice (CSCoP) designed for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients to learn self-management. The study also explored the relationship between participation and Arthritis self-efficacy (as one of the desirable learning outcomes). In addition, the study sought to understand knowledge co-construction in the discussion forums, which captures the dynamics of knowledge building regarding self-management skills. Principal component analysis using system generated activity logs was employed to describe participation levels. In addition to the 2 indicators for the overall site usage, which are the number of logins and the time spent in the CSCoP, a social participation component and a content interaction component were extracted to provide a parsimonious way of representing participation levels. Cluster analysis using 3 discussion board activities was used to describe participation patterns. Two participation patterns, which are the low communication and high communication groups, were identified. The examinations of the relationships between the initial Arthritis self-efficacy (ASES) and participation levels as well as the change scores and participation levels show no statistically significant relationship. Moreover, the individuals with different participation patterns do not differ on their initial ASES, the post-treatment ASES, or the change scores in ASES. Content analysis of social knowledge construction shows that the distributions of the interaction levels between ASES change groups were similar and the majority of the agreed upon messages were in the low level of interaction.
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