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Issue No. 01 - Jan.-March (2011 vol. 4)
ISSN: 1939-1382
pp: 74-87
Vania Dimitrova , University of Leeds, Leeds
Lydia Lau , University of Leeds, Leeds
Rebecca O'Rourke , University of Leeds, Leeds
This paper presents a novel collaborative tool—AWESOME Dissertation Environment (ADE)—which facilitates student learning through semantic social scaffolding: a new approach to dissertation writing challenges. These challenges revolve around three issues: timing of support; collective intelligence, and sense making strategies in tension with the individual and individualized experience of researching, writing and supervising dissertations; and supporting students' transition from learning “about” to learning “how to” research and write dissertations. A social technical approach was adopted to meet the challenge of effectively integrating technology development and pedagogic practice to address these issues. A semantic wiki was tailored into a social writing environment capable of providing holistic support throughout the whole dissertation process. A trial of ADE with students and tutors in Fashion Design examines user acceptance and the connection between technology and practice. Based on the design, implementation, and user trialing of the ADE, broad implications for future TEL adopting social semantic web principles and tools are drawn, highlighting issues with 1) user-centric design and development, 2) tailoring, seeding and evolution of the community environment, and 3) divergent expectations and facilitation of user participation.
Community learning environments, academic writing, ill-structured domains, semantic markup, semantic wikis.

L. Lau, R. O'Rourke and V. Dimitrova, "Semantic Social Scaffolding for Capturing and Sharing Dissertation Experience," in IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, vol. 4, no. , pp. 74-87, 2010.
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