06 SES 09, Open Learning Environments: Looking for Evidences
Parallel Paper Session
This research project is related to an on-going quantitative study in e-collaborative learning. As research platform courses on master’s level are conceptualized for applying different e-collaborative learning approaches (research paper in review). The four courses were located at two European universities in Norway and in Germany. The e-collaborative approaches are using a variety of tools for supporting communication. It is assumed that those courses including communication tools enhance the chances for better mutually support of students during online teaching sessions as well as in asynchronous periods. The objective of that study was to analyse how the different e-collaborative environments have affected the students perception related to e-collaborative learning in the dimension of social support, information exchange and task support:
Collaborative work with information exchange
To guarantee learning, information has to be shared and circulated to increase the ability of (re-) constructing knowledge by the members of the learning community. One prerequisite for learning is the members’ perceived ‘safe’ community. That ‘enables’ the participant to ask ‘dumb’ questions (Bufree, 1993).
Task support is any activity to try to accomplish the objectives given by the online community and the teacher and /or the teaching objectives. Online distributed learners need means to accomplish these exchanges as well as means to deliver the end- products (papers, presentation). (Haythornthwaite, 2002). But task support is more than just the technical infrastructure it is the use of the competence of the people involved considering the idea of the proximal zone of development (Vygotsky, 1987).
Social and emotional support
“Although information exchange is the key to learning environments, communities are not built on instrumental exchanges only.” (Haythornthwaite 2002, p.172) .
If examining a learning community there is a need to analyse the social and emotional support given between the participants (Haythornthwaite, 2002). This is because “…information exchange, social support and task support relations are the tree major categories of interaction, that are important for building and sustaining learning communities.” (Haythornthwaite, 2002, p.175).
These dimensions were chosen as dependent variables because they are seen as a prerequisite for e-collaborative learning (Haythornthwaite, 2000; 2002; 2003). A non-parametric test was used to test the hypothesis that the perceived dimensions differ related to the 4 different e-collaborative approaches used in the courses. It could be shown that two courses differ significantly in respect to the perceived social support.
This related project analyses qualitatively the discussion boards to find evidence that information exchange and task support is accompanied by social support. The results will be used for a triangulation to the findings of the quantitative study.
Bruffee, K. A. (1995). Sharing our toys - Cooperative learning versus collaborative learning. Change, 1-2. pp.12-18. Cecez-Kecmanovic, D. & Webb, C. (2000). Towards a communicative model of collaborative web-mediated learning. Australian Journal of Educational Technology,(1), 73-85. retrieved 8.01.2012 http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet16/cecez-kecmanovic.html Derry, S. J.; Levin, J. R. & Osana, H. P. (2000). Fostering students’ statistical and sientific thinking: Lessons learned from an innovative college course. American Educational Research Journal, 37 (3).747-775 Haythornthwaite, C. (2000). Online personal networks: Size, composition and media use among distance learners. New Media & Society, 2(2), 195-225. Haythornthwaite, C. (2002). Building social networks via computer networks: Creating and sustaining distributed learning communities. In K. A. Renninger & W. Shumar (Eds.), Building virtual Communities: Learning and Change in Cyberspace (pp. 159-190). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Haythornthwaite, C. (2003). Supporting distributed relationships: social networks of relations and media use over time’ Electronic Journal of Communication, 13 (1). Retrieved 01.2012 http://www.cios.org/EJCPUBLIC/013/1/01313.HTML Hickey, G., & Kipping, C. (1996). Issues in research. A multi-stage approach to the coding of data from open-ended questions. Nurse Researcher, 4, 81-91. Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative content analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1(2). Retrieved March.10, 2005, from http://www.qualitative-research.net/fqs-texte/2-00/02-00mayring-e.htm Lecher, R. (2012) E-kollaboratives Lernen mit unterschiedlichen Plattformen und Werkzeugen. Eine Pilotstudie. Not published masterthesis. Salmon, G. (2004). E-moderating. The key to teaching and learning online. Routhledge Falmer. 2.ed. London, New York.
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