Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Sciences - (Ph.D.)

Department

Computer and Information Science

First Advisor

Fadi P. Deek

Second Advisor

James A. McHugh

Third Advisor

Starr Roxanne Hiltz

Fourth Advisor

Bartel Albrecht Van de Walle

Fifth Advisor

Cesar Perez-Alvarez

Abstract

A model to enhance collaborative problem solving and program development is presented. The collaborative model is a detailed cognitive model that takes into consideration the cognitive and social activities that occur during collaborative problem solving and program development. The cognitive activities required for collaborative problem solving and program development are identified and integrated into a six-stage model. An extensive literature review in the associated fields is presented to show the need for the model described in this dissertation. In addition, a comprehensive study of tools to support collaboration during problem solving and program development was also performed as well as a critique of these tools.

A detailed statistical experiment to study the effect of this model on subjects, collaboratively solving a software problem was designed and executed. The experiment included testing the collaborative problem solving and program development model with and without assistance from groupware tools. The subject teams each constructed a software design and this design was evaluated based on, research hypotheses. This experiment produced results indicating the positive effect the Collaborative Model has on problem understanding and the quality of solution planning during collaborative problem solving and program development efforts.

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