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Colloquium - Fischer

Collaboration Scripts for Productive Online Discussions
University of Tübingen, Germany
4/27/2005
11:30am-1:00pm

Peer discussions are increasingly seen as appropriate instructional means in formal and informal educational settings. The basic idea is that of argumentative knowledge construction: By formulating and exchanging arguments in a controversial discussion, concepts to be learned will be elaborated both on a social level and on an individual cognitive level. However, students often lack or do not use the necessary knowledge and skills on how to discuss productively, i.e. how to engage in argumentative knowledge construction.

Collaboration script approaches are seen as appropriate instructional means to overcome this problem. Collaboration scripts assign roles to individuals, facilitate the associated role activities, and coordinate the interaction. Computer-supported collaboration scripts can be designed to facilitate argumentative knowledge construction by a broad scope of features reaching from just prompting learners' appropriate knowledge on specific roles within a discussion to scaffolding every single step in argument formulation by sentence starters. Scripts can address different dimensions of a discussion, most importantly the content, the interaction, the formal structure of arguments.

In a series of lab and field studies, we analyzed how peer discussions in secondary and in higher education can be promoted by different kinds of computer-supported collaboration scripts. This talk gives an overview of these studies focusing on innovative contributions to methodology (e.g. knowledge convergence analyses or think-aloud protocols during collaboration) as well as on major findings.

Sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design.

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