02 SES 11 D JS, Different International and Educational Perspectives on Student Collaboration
Symposium Joint Session NW 02 with NW 22
This paper critically explores processes of collaborative learning in twelve UK undergraduate sociology seminars. Videos of the seminars were generated as part of a longitudinal three-year, mixed-methods study of sociology undergraduate degrees in four universities. These seminars incorporate many of the practices and principles associated with collaborative learning, for example, they involved group work, peer teaching, peer learning, working on particular activities or questions collaboratively, and most significantly students being responsible for one another’s learning through these practices (Smith and MacGregor, 1992). Sociology seminars are arenas in which activities, exercises and discussions aim to develop students’ understanding of sociological concepts, ideas and practices and their ability to use these to investigate pertinent issues and experiences (McLean et al, 2013; Ashwin et al, 2012). However, interviews with students and teachers suggested that seminars often do not fulfil their promise largely because students fail to take responsibility for others learning by not reading or preparing adequately (McLean et al, ibid). Videos give us the opportunity to carry out a close analysis of critical moments (e.g. see Jones et al, 2005) of different instances of collaborative learning and the factors, which appear to affect how learning does\does not happen in this context. Using Bernstein’s (2000) theoretical framework we provide an analytical description of the processes and aim to identify pertinent principles for successful collaborative learning in seminar settings. Our paper also reflects on the effectiveness of video data in exploring learning and the degree to which our interpretations are dependent upon other data from this mixed-methods study.
Ashwin, P., Abbas, A., & McLean, M. (2012). Quality and inequality in undergraduate courses: a guide for national and institutional policy makers. Project Report. University of Nottingham , Nottingham. Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. Oxford, England: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Jones, K., McLean, M., Amigoni, D., & Kinsman, M. (2005). Investigating the production of university English in mass higher education: Towards an alternative methodology. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 4(3), 245-264. McLean, M., Abbas, A., & Ashwin, P. (2013). A Bernsteinian view of learning and teaching undergraduate sociology-based social science. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences ELiSS, 5(2), 32-44. McLean, M., & Abbas, A. (March 2010). ‘Pedagogic Quality and Inequality: Bernsteinian Conceptual Framework' , Working Paper 1, http://www.pedagogicequality.ac.uk/timeline.php#workingpapers Smith, B. L., & MacGregor, J. T. (1992). “What Is Collaborative Learning?". National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment at Pennsylvania State University
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