1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The methods that are used to share ideas and for collaboration are constantly changing and evolving. This has also has impact on the way we learn. The methods are now ubiquitous in nature. In some cases, it has provided for building communities. The communities formed can be geared towards learning which can be both cooperative and collaborative in nature.
Collaborative learning is an instructional system of educating in which students group together on a task and students can create the individual parts of an allotted ask exclusively and after that set up the last cooperate, as an issue (Educause, 2010). Agreeable adapting, some of the time confused for collective learning, portrays a technique where students cooperate in little gatherings on an organized movement. Students are independently responsible for their work but also for the work of the group as a whole, and both outcome are assessed.
Interactivity and collaboration have become the keywords of the new web content and this has necessitated for the topic, design and implementation of web enabled cooperative and collaborative learning for Computer Science Department, Federal University of Technology, Minna.
The need for education is increasing constantly and the development and improvement of the eLearning platform solutions is necessary (Paul Pocatilu, Felician Alecu & Marius Vetrici, 2012). Collaborative learning need to keep pace with technology, so the new direction is to leverage eLearning components system architecture in which this study intend to work upon. This will allow the students to cooperate and collaborate with each other in an unprecedented way so as to bring about learning.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Lecturers find it difficult to know whether a given task assigned to students (usually in groups) which supposed to be cooperative and collaborative in nature fulfil its very purpose. Cooperative and collaborative learning are used to increase self-esteem and self-concept. Students who also live in different location find it difficult to cooperate and collaborate on a task face-to-face and it is most difficult if the task given span across holidays or festive period in which students have to live the vicinity of the campus and even the town which the campus is situated. How the students then successfully cooperate and collaborate virtually to bring a about learning which is relative permanent change in behavior which is acquired through skills, experiences and knowledge in order to achieved some goals of cooperative and collaborative learning (which include celebration of diversity, valuing contributions, increased higher level of reasoning, greater transfer of learning between situations, and increased generation of new ideas and solutions)?
This system will provide a reliable and efficient platform for collaborative learning that will solve the problem of identifying inactive student(s), assign task to students while on break, track student progress, test for all the 3-levels of domains( cognitive, affective and psychomotor), catalyzed innovation and creation of learning community.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this project is to design and implement a web enabled cooperative and collaborative learning system for computer science department. This is to be achieved by the following objectives:
- To study and review the existing methods of collaborative and cooperative learning.
- To design a web enabled collaborative and cooperative learning platform that is typical to Federal University of Technology, Minna.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The project will reduce the cost overhead accrued by the University for Deploying educational collaborative Solutions like Google Apps for education, Microsoft Apps for education and etc. It will equally reduce the cost of purchasing significant number of hardware and software by the institution. It is relatively inexpensive, less stressful, it does not consume time, and it is modern, reliable, dependable, and easily usable. It will bring about effective knowledge management which is much more important than document management. It will also provide opportunities and platform for the optimal utilization of the available devices that are owned by most students.
The students and lecturers of department of computer science and federal university of technology, Minna will benefit from the project because of the following advantages which it possesses.
The students can now remotely work and collaborate on task that involves group investigation, group discussion and cooperative work without physically interacting with each other. Festive period in which student and staff travelled to their home town or base can no longer hinder collaborative task once the user can have access to the internet.
1.5 SCOPE OF STUDY
This study looks into the processes of collaborative learning which aim to solve group investigation task, developed by Shlomo and Yael Sharan. It is a general classroom-organization plan in which students work in small groups using cooperative inquiry, group discussion, cooperative planning and projects-based task (Sharan and Sharan, 1992). The researcher focus on instructional and assessment in computer science departments of the University that involves collaboration and it can be modelled into web-based platform using the internet.
1.6 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
This project only focused on the use of internet to support cooperative and collaborative learning within computer science domain. It is difficult for the researcher to know all types and various examples of collaborative task that is applicable in all the departments in the school due to the time the researcher have to carry out the project. This makes it impractical to modelled different types of group investigation and collaborative task into the system which could have make the system more versatile and a compelling platform for collaboration to suit all the department in the school.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
ELearning: this is a learning that are supported or enabled through the use of electronic media/ information and communication technologies.
Cooperative Learning: cooperative learning is another type of collaborative learning that allow student to work on a task collectively.
Collaborative Learning: Collaborative learning is an instructional method that allow student to form a team and work together to explore or work on a meaningful project.
Design: a formal plan of achieving a goal.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): they are used by browsers to locate resources/files/documents on the internet.
HTTP Web Service: it is a software that allows the way in which machine-to-machine communicate over the network
Internet: this is a global connection of interconnected networks with standard protocols for communication
Structured Query Language MySQL: This is a database retrieval language used in sending queries to the database.
This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research
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