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Group work is widespread in education. The growing use of online tools supporting group work generates huge amounts of data. We aim to exploit this data to support mirroring: presenting useful high-level views of information about the group, together with desired patterns characterizing the behavior of strong groups. The goal is to enable the groups and their facilitators to see relevant aspects of the group's operation and provide feedback if these are more likely to be associated with positive or negative outcomes and indicate where the problems are. We explore how useful mirror information can be extracted via a theory-driven approach and a range of clustering and sequential pattern mining. The context is a senior software development project where students use the collaboration tool TRAC. We extract patterns distinguishing the better from the weaker groups and get insights in the success factors. The results point to the importance of leadership and group interaction, and give promising indications if they are occurring. Patterns indicating good individual practices were also identified. We found that some key measures can be mined from early data. The results are promising for advising groups at the start and early identification of effective and poor practices, in time for remediation.
Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:21 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: June 2009