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How to produce quality theses at universities in a large scale. SciPro IT system – Supporting the Scientific Process
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2014 (English)In: Frontiers in Education conference (FIE), IEEE Communications Society, 2014, 1- p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Problem: To manage and supervise large number of theses at bachelor, master and PhD level, with increased quality of both processes and product. Based on 995 publications, Jones (2013) identified four main problems in PhD thesis production; attrition, supervisor relationship, supervisor quality, social isolation. These issues also apply to theses at bachelor and master level. In theses applied research methods are used in order to solve a problem. Theses end an education level and constitute a bridge into work or further studies and even an academic career. This core activity at universities requires a lot of resources and is very time consuming. The thesis quality varies and topic relevance to societal needs is often weak. Another problem is the high dropout and inefficient administrative procedures. Furthermore the digital resources for autonomous learning of research methods aren't optimally provided. The European Union’s approximately 4000 Higher Education Institutions and about 20 million students need better support in this area. The demand for better mass scale support systems in higher education is also a global need with 1200 Higher Education Institutions worldwide (listed by ARWU). The number of higher education students is about 178 million (2010) and are forecasted to increase to 262 million by 2025.The online IT-support system, SciPro (Supporting the Scientific Process), has been developed during five years at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University. During the period 2012-2013 706 bachelor and master theses was managed through the SciPro system. In 2014 91 PhD students are included as well. This study summaries the experience and results during five years, including and going beyond our previous studies (17 publications). The focus of the SciPro project is technical implementation of pedagogical processes leading to quality learning and quality theses. The SciPro online system is modular and unique, consisting of: 1) Idea bank; with students, supervisors and business organisation’s thesis topic ideas, 2) Matching; students paired with supervisors based on ideas and research area, 3) Objective (Milestones) and subjective (Project state) progress indicators, 4) Meta-supervision; instructions and cues for all students and supervisors, 5) Real-time statistics; for monitoring, quality assurance and evaluation, 6) Communication module; forum, notifications, shared files, checklists, 7) Peer Portal; peer review process and peer interaction 8) Multimedia resources for autonomous learning of research methods, and 9) Anti-plagiarism control; integrated and automatic. The SciPro system works on all devices connected to Internet. It significantly reduces administration of all thesis related tasks for all involved. SciPro can manage theses at a whole University fulfilling administrators’, supervisors’ and student’s needs. With minor adaptations and development SciPro can be useful at most universities. The presentation will include live demonstrations and evaluations from all stakeholders’ points of view.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Communications Society, 2014. 1- p.
Keyword [en]
Supervision, IT system, Autonomous learning, Large scale, Quality
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110998DOI: 10.1109/FIE.2014.7044383ISBN: 978-1-4799-3922-0OAI: diva2:773772
Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2014 IEEE,22-25 Oct. 2014, Madrid
Available from: 2014-12-19 Created: 2014-12-19 Last updated: 2015-08-12Bibliographically approved

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Hansson, Henrik
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Department of Computer and Systems Sciences
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