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CALICO 2008 San Francisco

CALICO 2008 San Francisco. Fostering Cohesion and Community in Asynchronous Online Courses Dorothy Chun, David Hiple, Stephen Tschudi. Fostering cohesion and community. Community and cohesion Chinese 332: the study Results – lessons learned. Communities: social contexts for learning.

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CALICO 2008 San Francisco

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  1. CALICO 2008San Francisco Fostering Cohesion and Communityin Asynchronous Online Courses Dorothy Chun, David Hiple, Stephen Tschudi

  2. Fostering cohesion and community • Community and cohesion • Chinese 332: the study • Results – lessons learned

  3. Communities: social contexts for learning • Individuals (re)construct identity through community experiences • Experiences accumulated by participation in social contexts • Social participation as learning process Wenger 1998

  4. Communities of practice • A group of individuals participating in a communal activity Wenger • Social learning groups that form when people have a common interest and collaborate over time… Lave and Wenger 1991 • In CoPs co-constructed knowledge – larger than individual knowledge – is developed through discussion and collaboration Johnson 2001

  5. Sociocultural theory • Human activities take place in cultural contexts mediated by language and other symbol systems • Emphasizes interdependence of social and individual processes in the “co-construction of knowledge” Vygotsky

  6. Constructionism Learning happens especially well when people are engaged in constructing a product such as a machine, a computer program or a book… Papert

  7. Constructivism(Piaget) • Learners with different skills/backgrounds collaborate to arrive at shared understanding Duffy and Jonassen 1992 • Learners arrive at own version of the “truth” based on background, culture, world view Gredler 1997 • Students produce and analyze their own data Furstenberg 2001

  8. Inquiry based-learning • A student-centered, active learning approach focusing on questioning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. • Associated with the idea "involve me and I will understand." Bass

  9. Using technology in teaching and learning • Slow down the learning experience • Make thinking visible • Create a culture and context of reflective practice • Virtual communities of practice Bass

  10. Viability of online communities of practice • Access (++) • Asynchronous (+) • Archived (+) • Nonthreatening (+) • Disconnected (-)  lack of community

  11. Nurturing CoPs online • Share opinions and feelings • Group knowledge developed • Cohesion - Wenger • reference to other postings • low redundancy

  12. Online pedagogy • Task: relevant/personally important • Task: clearly defined with clear outcome • Teacher: prime the pump • Teacher: share responsibility/management

  13. BRIXcourse management system • WHAT • Dynamic Web pages: Cold Fusion processes code, reads and updates database, outputs HTML • SQLServer database stores, modifies, retrieves user input from learning community • WHY • Commercial courseware does not support • Pedagogical priorities • Needed charsets • Voice postings

  14. BRIX courseware tools

  15. Chinese 332: the course • 16 weeks; 8 instructional units • Curriculum built around CD-ROM • Lessons: authentic Chinese texts (Int-High / Adv) • CD-ROM published as independent CALL tool • Course designed as “community of users” of CD-ROM

  16. Chinese 332: the course • Flow of activities • preparatory activities together • independent use of CD-ROM text-based communicative group activities related to CD-ROM content

  17. Chinese 332: the course • Small Group Forum • first activity after return from individual CD-ROM use • tasks blend intermediate-level and advanced-level functions • builds towards an endpoint essay in current unit • Small groups of 5 or 6 interact in task; can only post in own group but can read all

  18. Chinese 332: the course

  19. Chinese 332: the study • Objective: identify behaviors and strategies that foster or hinder cohesion and community in online forums in courses • Threads with high and low indicators of cohesion and community identified using quantitative methodology • Interesting exemplars of both kinds of threads “thickly described” and compared using qualitative methodology • Three distinct patterns discerned in threads of interest, used as sources for identifying behaviors and strategies

  20. Chinese 332: the study • Cohesion & Community: Quantitative Indices • Cohesion • postings per participant, MLU • references to content of other postings • Community • direct address; references to other participants

  21. Chinese 332: the study • Quantitative Methodology • Structured query language (SQL) used to extract data from course database • Data passed through scripts to obtain reliable word and utterance counts • Nonlinguistic operating definitions used for “word” and “utterance” for purposes of the study • Forums closely read and scored for references to other people and to other postings in the forum

  22. Chinese 332: the study • Qualitative Methodology • Overall pattern of interaction described: “broken,” or whole? Rich, or impoverished? Drive toward consensus or (at least) clarification? • Roles of participants described: proactive, or reactive? Involved, or distant? • Interactions in forum described as a series of turns or communicative “events” with consequences

  23. Chinese 332: the study • Focus of Analysis • 2 Small Group Forum discussions from Spring 2003 semester • Unit 2 (weeks 3 and 4), early in the course • 6 small groups – negotiation task • Unit 6 (weeks 11 and 12), late in the course • 4 small groups – narration task

  24. Chinese 332: the study Unit 2: quantitative analysis

  25. Chinese 332: the study • Unit 2: qualitative analysis • Pattern 1 • Higher participation in Group 4 connected with higher personal interest in topic • Higher interest associated with “topic drift” towards actual favorite restaurants in Honolulu • Teacher strategy: “go with the flow” and exploit increased interest

  26. Unit 2: Group 4 transcript

  27. Chinese 332: the study • Unit 2: qualitative analysis • Pattern 2 • Student leader consistently made conversational moves to “shepherd” other students in the group towards task closure • Communication style fits “active participation paradigm” of persuasive communication (Burgoon & Miller, 1985) • Active participation by one such student may mean the difference between success and failure for a group • Such students not categorically the best performers; other students may even contribute more, but these leaders focus and energize the discussion in a distinct way

  28. Unit 2: Group 4 transcript

  29. Unit 2: Group 4 transcript

  30. Chinese 332: the study Unit 6: quantitative analysis

  31. Chinese 332: the study Unit 6 Group 3 thread list

  32. Chinese 332: the study • Unit 6: qualitative analysis • Pattern 3 • Poor cohesion when students failed to participate in a single thread • Highly redundant content of postings showed students not paying attention to others’ postings  low group cohesion • Students had to intuit division of labor from model postings labeled “background,” “description,” and “narration”

  33. Chinese 332: the study • Unit 6: qualitative analysis • Pattern 3 • Teacher expectations regarding division of labor in the group not met; instructions did not make individual requirements clear enough • Teacher “rescue” strategy: create new thread with subject line only (no content): • “Students, please make your postings together in one thread!”

  34. Analysis and Discussion Teaching implications of the 3 striking patterns in the data: (1) Increase of participation, direct interaction, and personal involvement when the topic closely related to students’ daily lives points to two important principles (a) instructor flexibility (b) fostering of connections to students’ lives and interests

  35. Analysis and Discussion (2) The second pattern, the emergence of a student leader suggests that instructors should: (a) promote leadership in the group (b) provide guidelines for interaction among students

  36. Analysis and Discussion (3) The third pattern, the decrease in interaction and cohesion points to: (a) importance of clear instructions (b) sustained leadership from the instructor (c) clear definitions of task completion

  37. Analysis and Discussion To conclude, we return to the principles of online pedagogy mentioned at the beginning (which are also important in traditional/F2F language teaching): Two principles deal with tasks: (1) Tasks must be clearly defined and include an identifiable outcome or conclusion (2) When possible, tasks should ideally be relevant to the students’ lives and important to them personally

  38. Analysis and Discussion Two principles deal with teachers: (1) A key role for instructors is that they “prime the pump” in the initial stages but also be flexible and adaptive to students’ input (2) Instructors should share the responsibility of discourse management whenever possible, i.e., they should designate student leaders to help keep their classmates on task (Poole, 2000)

  39. Conclusion The four principles are in line with those presented in the Community of Practice framework for fostering coherence in virtual learning communities (Wenger), whose goal is to create “learning communities in which students are willing, even enthusiastic, to share the responsibility of learning.”

  40. Bibliography Bass, R. (2000). Hyperactivity and underconstruction: Learning culture in a wired world. http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/bassr/hauc3-00_files/v3_document.htm Burgoon, M & Miller, G. R. (1985). An expectancy interpretation of language and persuasion. In Recent Advances in Language, Communication, and Social Psychology. Ed. Howard Giles and Robert N. St. Clair. NJ: Erlbaum. 199-229. Duffy, D & Jonassen, D.H. (1992). Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction: A Conversation. NJ: Erlbaum. Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., English, K., & Maillet, K. (2001). Giving a voice to the silent language of culture: The Cultura Project. Language Learning & Technology, 5(1), 55-102. http://llt.msu.edu/vol5num1/furstenburg/default.html Gredler, M. E. (1997). Learning and Instruction: Theory and Practice (3rd ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Johnson, C. (2000). A survey of current research on online communities of practice. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6W4X-44BMD1R-4&_user=996227&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000059603&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=996227&md5=66be95a2289db4d50707fb4a6d43703c Lave, J & Wenger E (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms. Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas. New York: Basic Books. Piaget, Jean. (1950). The Psychology of Intelligence. New York. Routledge. Poole, D. M. (2000). Student participation in a discussion-oriented online case: A case study. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 33, 167-177. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  41. Aloha! to see this presentation… nflrc.hawaii.edu/CALICO/2008.ppt/

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