Case study: recommending course reading materials in a small virtual learning community
by Juha Leino
International Journal of Web Based Communities (IJWBC), Vol. 8, No. 3, 2012

Abstract: Recommender systems, long used in e-commerce to help users find salient items, also offer tools for virtual learning communities to let the community determine what items are most pertinent to its members. However, due to differences in numbers and goals, learning environments cannot simply copy e-commerce approaches to recommenders. This article discusses design issues related to using recommenders in learning environments and student perceptions of using rating and commenting to allow students to winnow additional reading materials in a university course website. Positive student perceptions show that recommenders can enhance virtual learning community experience. The rating feature in particular was viewed positively and perceived to influence selecting behaviour, while commenting, although also perceived positively, was seen as underused and less influential. In addition, the design of the system is evaluated in the light of the student feedback and potential improvements are discussed.

Online publication date: Wed, 20-Aug-2014

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