Developing a Web Application and a Case-based Reasoning Recommender System to Improve Students' Motivation for Exchange Programs
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The Norwegian University of Science and Technology has an objective to be internationally outstanding. One of the underlying initiatives of this objective is to increase the number of students that go on a study abroad- or student exchange program. This thesis introduces a prototype created to improve the motivation for students to apply for these programs by recommending courses and universities, and simplifying the course approval process for students. The prototype, named Utsida, uses case-based reasoning and the experience reports of previous exchange students to give the recommendations. The Design and Creation research strategy was used to develop and evaluate the two parts of Utsida: a web application part for user interaction and data storage, and a case-based reasoning recommender system part that produces the recommendations. Two methods were used to evaluate the Utsida prototype. The first method was a user study were students at NTNU were able to test Utsida and answer an accompanying questionnaire. The second method tested the case-based reasoning recommender system part in an offline experiment with simulated user queries. The user study showed that Utsida has a very positive effect on students' motivation to apply for a study abroad- or student exchange program. Furthermore, the majority of students also received relevant recommendations for both universities and courses. Furthermore, the significant results of the offline experiment showed a high relevancy on the implemented recommender and supported the results of the user study.