Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Computational and Data Sciences

First Advisor

Erik Linstead

Second Advisor

Peiyi Zhao

Third Advisor

Dennis Dixon

Abstract

In the age of online courses and digital textbooks, several areas of academia, such as special education, are far behind in the technological revolution. Some teachers use long unstructured digital documents, while others maintain large physical files for students containing every piece of information or coursework they have ever received. Could these extremely unstructured approaches to data collection and aggregation be streamlined with a software platform built specifically for this purpose? Could this platform also be built to accommodate multiple integrations and practical new features? Most importantly, in terms of usability, would this software be enjoyable to use? The Autism Management Platform was initially built for parents of children with Autism to be able to post and view various events and activities throughout their child’s life. The platform now allows for communication on posts between parents, teachers, physicians, and anyone else involved in the child’s life who is authorized to do so. What started as a general platform built for Autism was able to adopt an integration specific to special education. The Autism Management Platform was then further enriched by new features, such as the addition of appointments and visual schedules, proving that it could serve beyond the platform it was intended to be. Through several semester-long user trials in high school special education programs, it was found that real people could use an integration of this platform in an enjoyable and meaningful way.

 
 

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