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The prevalence of computer-based technologies makes it more difficult for users to find and learn how to use new systems. In addition, the overwhelming amount of information may cause users to have a higher level of anxiety. Users have to spend more time comparing technologies, learning them, and perhaps fixing them when they break. This thesis examines the Technology Acceptance Model and discusses the various determinants of computer usage. Factors of Perceived Ease of Use (PEU) are analyzed, and observations show that computer anxiety negatively impacts system usage. Since many factors can cause computer anxiety, the various determinants of PEU are analyzed in order to see if and how they relate to computer anxiety. And since there are different types of computer anxiety, this thesis addresses a type that is highly encountered—the f...
Identifiers are an essential component of online communication. Email addresses and instant messenger usernames are two of the most common online identifiers. This dissertation focuses on the ways that social, technical and policy factors affect individual's behavior with online identifiers. Research for this dissertation was completed in two parts, an interview-based study drawn from two populations and an examination of the infrastructure for managing identifiers in two large consumer services. The exploratory study examines how individuals use online identifiers to segment and integrate aspects of their lives. The first population is drawn from employees of a financial service firm with substantial constraints on communication in the workplace. The second population is drawn from a design firm with minimal constraints on communicat...
The means of producing information and the infrastructure for disseminating it are constantly changing. The web mobilizes information in electronic formats, making it easier to copy, modify, remix, and redistribute. This has changed how information is produced, distributed, and used. People are not just consuming information; they are actively producing, remixing, and sharing information, using the web as a platform for creativity and production. This is true of software development as well. It is frequently commented by programmers and researchers who study software development, that programmers frequently copy and paste code. Although this practice is widely acknowledged, it is rarely studied directly, or explicitly accounted for in models of software development. However, this attitude is changing as software becomes more ubiquito...
The current hierarchical folder system has long been found limited causing various difficulties in organizing and re-finding information on personal computers. Many alternative prototypes have been proposed to replace the current folder system. However, past empirical studies consistently observed that people prefer browsing folders in re-accessing information and only use searching as the last resort. Recognizing the complexity and our limited understanding of personal information organization and retrieval behavior in computer folders, my study was aimed to explore what people need from folders and the affordances and limitations of folders in the different stages of organization and retrieval, and furthermore provide implications for system design. Improved understanding on personal information organization and retrieval on computer...
Providing good customer service is crucial to many commercial organizations. There are different means through which the service can be provided, such as Ecommerce, call centres or face-to-face. Although some service is provided through electronic or telephone-based interaction, it is common that the service is provided through human agents. In addition, many customer service interactions also involve a computer, for example, an information system where a travel agent finds suitable flights. This thesis seeks to understand the three channels of customer service interactions between the agent, customer and computer: Customer-Agent-Computer Interaction (CACI). A set of ethnographic studies were conducted at call centres to gain an initial understanding of CACI and to investigate the customer-computer channel. The findings revealed tha...
Networked Tablet PCs have great potential for improving the learning environment in classrooms. By increasing the capacity for communication among participants, they can raise student engagement in, and teacher awareness of, the class; by allowing for a detailed record of the class to be made, they can facilitate educational research. This thesis presents several studies, spanning the period from fall, 2001, to spring, 2008, exploring these possibilities. An early study used primitive pen-enabled computers to allow sharing of teacher notes and student questions. In several studies, Tablet PCs were used simply to record data, either of the teacher's use of the Tablet PC or of the students' note-taking; we present a variety of analyses of those data. In the spring, 2007, semester, we experimented with a partially self-placed class struct...
The Dublin Core 1:1 Principle asserts that "related but conceptually different entities, for example a painting and a digital image of the painting, are described by separate metadata records" (Woodley et al., 2005). While this seems to be a simple requirement, studies of metadata quality have found that cultural heritage metadata frequently does not conform to the Principle. Instead, representations commonly appear to make statements about multiple related resources, such as a painting and a digital surrogate that depicts the painting. Although these "violations" of the Principle are assumed to reduce metadata quality, they are widespread in cultural heritage metadata, and metadata creators indicate "a great deal of confusion" about what the Principle means and what constitutes a violation (Park & Childress, 2009). A conceptual analy...
As a way to gain greater insights into the operation of online communities, this dissertation applies automated text mining techniques to text-based communication to identify, describe and evaluate underlying social networks among online community members. The main thrust of the study is to automate the discovery of social ties that form between community members, using only the digital footprints left behind in their online forum postings. Currently, one of the most common but time consuming methods for discovering social ties between people is to ask questions about their perceived social ties. However, such a survey is difficult to collect due to the high investment in time associated with data collection and the sensitive nature of the types of questions that may be asked. To overcome these limitations, the dissertation presents a ...
The purpose of this study was to learn from an attempt to form a community of practice consisting of local teachers and an art museum educator. Research goals included teacher professional development and museum educator professional development. The evolution of the educator group was studied over 16 months, during which time several events and collaborations took place in local schools and in the museum, including four teacher workshops. Over time strengthened relationships between the museum educator and local teachers led to new initiatives and partnerships to utilize museum resources in schools. These relationships also led to new understandings of one another’s professional practice. The significance of the study is that it documents the beginning stages of a museum- teacher group and issues encountered in art museum-school coll...
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