|System||Interaction with users||Format of cases||Retrieval||
|First Prototype||Active||Hidden database||Automatic||
|Second Prototype||Active & Passive||
shared by all users
TABLE 3. Comparison of the two prototype systems using the same classifications as table 1.
Table 3 summarizes how the two prototypes compare and can be contrasted with table 1 showing the other systems.
With the second prototype we have taken into account the importance of showing a clear benefit to the users of the system. With the changes we have made we hope to observe an increase in the use of the VP by the students, and in the use by the tutors of its assistant capabilities. We hope that our next trial (outlined in future work) will prove successful enough for the VP to be fully adopted by this and other courses.
Once the second prototype is complete, and the next course presentation has started it is necessary then to assess the systems functionality and value to the user population. We intend to achieve this by surveying students at specific times during the course, along with the addition of a feedback mechanism for the VP's messages.
Initially we will introduce a feedback form for the VP's messages. This form will be available via the web and through First Class. When the VP posts a message we will include the line 'Was this helpful? 1-5' at the end of the message for immediate feedback. We will also include a method whereby students can submit FAQ'S, either new ones, their own versions or corrections. We hope that by providing this facility, and crediting authorship of the new and corrected versions, students will be motivated to provide us with feedback.
Secondly we will conduct an electronic survey at the end of both TMA 1 and 2 to find out students opinions - followed by a paper based survey similar to this years. We hope that these formal evaluations along with anecdotal feedback from in-conference discussions will enable us to evaluate the VP in more detail and demonstrate the benefits of this system.
I wish to thank Stuart Watt, Paul Mulholland, Trevor Collins and all others in KMi who have helped me with this project.
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Simon Masterton: Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK7 6AA, England.