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Title: Investigation of the effects of group composition and conference structure on group creativity and induvidual perceptions of transactional distance in university students
Authors: Kao, Pi-Yu
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The main purpose of this study was to investigate online collaborative activities based on the differences of individual students, to enhance creativity in small groups and reduce transactional distance (TD) in an online learning environment. The relationships among gender, thinking styles, individual creative ability and group creativity were also explored. Both experimental and survey data were collected to provide a rich understanding of the related issues. Different grouping and structuring strategies were developed and manipulated in this work. The 3 x 3 factorial quasi-experimental design employed a pretest-posttest comparison group, with two independent variables: thinking styles and conference structure. The dependent variables were group creativity and student perceptions of transactional distance. One hundred and thirty-eight second year students from three intact classes at Southern Taiwan University were selected as the participants for the main study. Four research instruments were used to collect data: the Thinking Styles Inventory (TSI), the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults (ATTA), the Creative Product Semantic Scale (CPSS), and the individual’s perceptions of transactional distance questionnaire. The findings confirmed that male students tended to prefer the legislative thinking style more than the female ones. There was no significant difference between male and female students in the overall creative ability. However, the male students had significantly higher creative ability with regard to originality. The findings also supported Sternberg’s argument that ability is different from style. In addition, this study found that there was no significant association between the average group member creative ability and the overall group creative performance. As for the test results for the influences of the two proposed factors in terms of group composition and conference structure on group creativity, no significant differences were found for these two factors or their interaction on group creativity. In addition, group composition and conference structure had no significant interaction effect on any dimension of transactional distance, but two main effects were significant. Group composition had a significant effect on the learner autonomy dimension of transactional distance. The level of conference structure had a significant effect on individual perceptions of interaction, conference structure and interface transactional distance. Moreover, in the context of the present study, using synchronous online conferencing, a high degree of TD - interaction was associated with a high degree of TD - conference structure, TD - learner autonomy and TD - interface.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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