CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

A Project Management Prototype for Collaborative Projects on the Internet

Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Jacques Levin

Committee Member

John A. Scigliano

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Abstract

In this dissertation, the researcher describes a study which led to the design and implementation of a prototype management system for tracking the evolution of Multimedia Electronic Classroom (MMECR) collaborative distance projects over the Web. Although the use of project management systems has been an established practice in business, industry, and large research environments alike, small research environments such as the MMECR currently lack the methodology and the tools for tracking the evolution of their projects. Therefore, in order to address both the needs and capabilities of the MMECR community, this study evaluated the performance of the prototype within the specific context of the MMECR. Although the findings of this study focused on Nova Southeastern University (NSU), the proposed methodology and prototype can be extended to and applied in other small research and business environments. This study began by defining the relevant technical terminology and concepts. A survey of existent literature strongly indicated the need for establishing a project management system within the MMECR environment. Using findings from previous work that have analyzed project management schema and available tools, this study further examined the specific challenges facing the MMECR environment for the tracking of projects. This study then considered a range of related issues--from Internet and PC-based hardware/software technologies and design methodologies to theories of project management, collaboration, and implementation.

Next, the researcher considered the various approaches available for developing the proposed tool. In particular, it presented an initial scenario within the current MMECR environment and adapted and applied these approaches to create a model that was especially suitable for NSU. The prototype system included both a Web-accessible database and a Web-based user interface to capture critical data and to generate relevant reports.

Upon implementation of the prototype, students were recruited to serve as evaluators. Two mailing lists were employed in order to recruit participants; one of these included students who had participated in previous collaborative projects in the MMECR and the other was composed of students who did not have such experience. A user survey assessing the viability of the prototype was administered to all participants. This study reviews the responses of participants involved in testing the prototype.

Finally, the researcher analyzed the responses of evaluators to the survey, attempting to assess the causes for less than universal positive response. Although the response to the prototype was generally positive, the researcher received less than unanimous response to certain features of the prototype. The breakdown of these responses was presented and the reasons behind them were explored. In the conclusion of this study, the researcher employed the information gathered during the development and testing of the prototype in order to offer recommendations for further research in this area.

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