Insights into the use and affordances of social and collaborative applications for student projects
Bankole, Omolola O.
Venter, Isabella M.
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The use of social and collaborative computing has the potential of assisting learning and improving the ability to work together as part of a team. Team work is a graduate attribute that students need to acquire before transitioning from university into the workplace. The aim of this exploratory research was to provide insights into the use of social and collaborative applications by Computer Science students, and the emergent affordances student project teams have created with the use of these applications. It answers the questions: What elearning platforms or applications do students use to collaborate for team projects? What technology affordance draws students to use these applications? This study adopts affordance theory as the theoretical framework. Two types of content analysis: conventional content analysis and summative content analysis were used to analyse the data. Data was gathered using a pre-designed questionnaire with the teams during the first semester of 2016. Findings show that the university’s elearning platform is utilised for some of their courses; however students seem to prefer free and open source platforms. Student project teams used applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Docs, as well as email messages, to work jointly, and were successfully able to complete their team projects. Four types of technology affordances: communicative-affordance, document share-affordance, course resource-affordance, and integrity-affordance, were identified as being relevant.