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Published by gminks

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: gminks on Aug 13, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Gina’s Personal Theory of CSCL
Gina MinksAugust 3, 2008gminks@comcast.net
I. Purpose and Overview
During the semester spent in the “Designing Online Collaborative Learning” course, I studied thetheory of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL). At the beginning of the class, Icreated a causal map to represent my ideas of how different factors lead to learning in CSCL.After studying factors that affect learning in CSCL, my theory of CSCL evolved.In this paper, I will identify and explain my how personal theory of collaborative learning haschanged over this semester by:
Providing my original example of a group assignment.
Presenting a revised causal map that depicts how my theory has changed and evolved
Describing the similarities and differences between my causal maps
Listing ways to improve group performance
 My Original Example
Last semester I was a student in the online version of the Introduction to Instructional Systemsclass. During one group assignment, two other students and I had to analyze a case studyscenario of a needs assessment. We each read the case study and posted our interpretation of thegaps in performance and what was needed to close the gaps to a message board. We used themessage board to refine the team’s description of the needs indicated in the case study. We alsoused the message board to begin to write a needs assessment plan for the company in the casestudy. Our plan was created as a Microsoft Word document, and we decided that using email to pass the document back and forth for editing was easier than using the message board.
Table 1 Overview of Group AssignmentTarget learning outcome(s)?
Develop a needs assessment plan for a givenscenario.
Class online or F2F?
Online class
Number of students in group?
Tools used to support group work?
Blackboard discussion board
Time given to complete groupassignment?
2 weeks
Percent of course grade?
Description of group task (100words max.)?
During part one of the task, each individualread a needs assessment case study, and posted comments on a Blackboard discussion board on the following topics:
Perceived gaps
Recommendations for closing the gapsin the case studyIndividual group members critiqued andcommented on each other’s assessment of thecase study.During the second part of the tasks,individual members worked together to comeup with a combined needs assessment plan,which was submitted for a grade.
What worked well?
Each individual explaining their interpretation of the case study
Dialogue between the group membersabout individual interpretations
What did not work well?
Using the message board to refine thecombined needs assessment plan wascumbersome, and the group found it moreefficient to us email to finalize the needsassessment plan.2
II. Revised Causal MapIII. Analysis and Application
 Similarities between Maps
 Interpersonal Small Group Skills
led to the
Quality of Communications
.I changed the link strength. According to Johnson & Johnson (1994), interpersonal andsmall group skills are essential in cooperative learning. This is critical in online groups,individual members must have the skills to work together in order to improvecommunications.2.
Quality of Communication
led to
Level of Learning Achieved 
.Studies (Alvari, 1994) have shown that group support systems facilitated via electroniccommunications leads to higher levels of skill development in classroom situations.3

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