CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Design of A Decision Support Hypertext System To Address Teenage Life Concerns

Date of Award

1993

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Computer Education

Department

Center for Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Raisa Szabo

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Dennis Murphy

Committee Member

Edward Lieblein

Abstract

Modern living for today's adolescents includes confronting the risks presented by AIDS, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other health issues. To obtain information and make appropriate decisions regarding teenage sexuality, adolescents may depend on adults or friends. However, the potential for discomfort in requesting information of a sensitive nature is viable. In this study, therefore, the researcher designed, developed, and evaluated a prototype decision support system to disseminate information on teenage sexuality. The purpose of the system was to potentially provide an alternative response to inquiries in a confidential manner. The setting of the study was a secondary school in Broward County, Florida. The system was to be accessible through the school library media center and placed in a private location.

In designing the system, called Teenage Life Concerns (TLC), the researcher based the methodology on the premise that user participation is essential in producing a system that meets the needs of potential users. Students, faculty members, administrators, and district personnel participated through surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Domain experts were used in the knowledge acquisition process. Comments and opinions obtained from participants were utilized to build a knowledge base, software model, and finally a prototype system. In addition, system design was based on a series of construction phases of decision support system development as suggested by Turban (1993).

The TLC system was tested for reliability, validity and usability by domain experts and system users using two questionnaires. Data analysis mainly focused on the knowledge acquisition phase and software construction phase using tables, figures, and anecdotal responses to discuss reactions and perceptions of the utility of the system. Overall, evaluators rated the TLC system high in terms of ease of use, utility of program, and satisfaction with the system based on specific criteria.

The researcher chose a hypertext-based authoring tool to develop the system because of the high level of interaction possible through user control of the decision making process. It was evident that users appreciated the ease of use of the system and accessibility rate. Using 'a hypertext-based development tool may have contributed to the satisfaction level of the users.

The TLC system can be expanded in the future to include the utilization of laserdisc players and CD-ROM drives to access additional information. The researcher perceives that a major component in the positive feedback obtained from the evaluations occurred because of the active participation of potential users in the development process. The researcher advocates active research processes as coinciding with recent educational theories that emphasize exploratory-centered and process-oriented learning. Students and educators are then empowered to become partners in their own education.

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