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Title: Designing an information infrastructure to support research degree programmes : identifying information and technology needs
Authors: Abd Wahab, Alawiyah
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Extensive previous research has shown that web-based technologies have the potential to improve and enhance the quality of learning both on campus and at a distance. However, most of these studies have focused on the application of web-based technologies to support either undergraduates or taught postgraduate programmes, particularly, the use of Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) system to complement module-based courses. Evidence from previous research on the use of VLE to support research students in the context of specific modules showed mixed results. Analysis of the VLE literature suggests that the system arranges courses based on academic calendar. Thus, students will not be able to access the system after the semester end. With postgraduate research, the processes of research are often incomplete even when students have graduated and they often seek to further the work through publication in journals. Therefore, using VLE alone would not possibly support the need of research student, particularly the support that they need throughout the stages of the research life cycle. Therefore, the main aim of this study is to investigate how a web portal could be designed to support the research students throughout the research life cycle. A conceptualised web portal design has been constructed through an extensive review of the web-based technologies, learning theories and research degrees literature. The conceptualised web portal design illustrates that the design is underpinned by adult learning theories and the theory of stages in socialisation development, which in turn inform the framework of this research study. This model was then validated and updated through four action research cycles. A web portal system was developed, using the prototyping method to demonstrate the application of the web portal design informed by the adult learning theories and theory of stages in socialisation development. The research findings suggest that action research and prototyping methodology is capable of designing a web portal that is able to support the needs of research students in the context of a life cycle approach. Furthermore, the study reveals that personalisation and customisation features have proved to be useful in providing relevant information to research students at each stage of the research students’ study. It was found that research students value dynamic content such as Really Simple Syndication (RSS) features for providing condensed, updated content relevant to their interests.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:Newcastle University Business School

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