quinta-feira, 21 de janeiro de 2010

Transparency in Cooperative Online Education by Chritian Dalsgaard and Morten Flate Paulsen

Activity 1 - Annotated Bibliography
Analysis of an article

The abstract of this article shows clearly the subject, starting that
The purpose of this article is to discuss the following question: What is the potential of social networking within cooperative online education? ”

One is also clarified by the authors that they are going to demonstrate their argument “that transparency is a unique feature of social networking services. ”

The text argues that transparency and social networks can be used in cooperative online education in a certain way. In fact the authors believe that social networks and transparency are fundamental to increase ability among students.

The problem identified by the authors is to find in what measure the increasing of the ability can be done and how social networks can support cooperative online learning and how can they be used to innovate and also to increase student motivation. Web2.0 tools i.e. Weblogs, social networking sites, micro-blogging, and social presence tools) can provide the means to do the work and most of all they can stimulate the creativity of the student. Moreover, one of the network characteristics is that people share, ask, give teach and exchange as the authors state.
“People can cooperate only if they know about each other and have access to some common information and services ”

Being very skilled in network (social or not) collaboration and cooperation can perfectly be used as an added value to online (cooperative) education. But foremost transparency is the biggest added value brought to online education as the authors underlinecentral characteristic of social networking is the potential to facilitate transparency between students. The basic assumption is that transparency is important to cooperative online education. ”

Transparency – what’s that?

Transparency means that you and your doings are visible to fellow students and teachers within a learning environment. ”

Following the work of the other students and even that of the teachers doesn’t mean appropriation or steeling. It is under the other way around: in online education it can mean specially a big help and a stimulus for innovation and “an idea for new ideas” as the authors suggest. As put it “The purpose of transparency is to enable students and teachers to see and follow the work of fellow students and teachers within a learning environment and in that sense to make participants available to each other as resources for their learning activities.”

Besides, for those that dislike “group work” that don’t allow individual performances and feel the need of exchanging ideas, cooperative learning is the best way to learn specially in distance education.
“A central aspect of cooperative learning is to enable students to make use of each other while at the same time maintaining individual freedom ”

Social Networking and Cooperative Learning

Since we live a communication Age it’s natural that networks become quite a must in people’s life and also for students. But communication is not necessarily collaboration and the authors of this article consider mandatory to define what and in what measure social networks are important to cooperative learning and how and in what can they be used as pedagogical tools “ Networks are loosely organized structures (Dron & Anderson 2007) in which people do not necessarily collaborate or communicate directly. However, the question is what role networks play in relation to learning (….) more questions arises: What kind of relations supports learning, and, specifically, how do networks support learning?

Morevover “ it is necessary to clarify how different kinds of social relations support learning. Thus, it is necessary to make a connection between learning and types of social relations”.

Because of that it is also necessary to clarify the difference between the concepts of “cooperative” and “collaborative” “We make a distinction between „collaborative‟ versus „cooperative‟ problem solving. Cooperative work is accomplished by the division of labour among participants, as an activity where each person is responsible for a portion of the problem solving. We focus on collaboration as the mutual engagement of participants in a coordinated effort to solve the problem together. (Roschelle & Teasley, 1995, p. 70) ”

To collaborate means in general that there is a participation in a learning community and that there are limits for individual flexibility. The Cooperative approach put the emphasis in the encouragement of both individual flexibility and affinity to a learning community: “Another way to distinguish between the three terms is to claim that individual learning is conducted alone, collaborative learning depends on groups, and cooperative learning takes place in networks. ”

In fact, learning is considered as an active process and social relations are central to learning in a socio-cultural approach. But an individual doesn’t have to “disappear” in the community work that must be constituted as a “group of individuals”
“The objective is not community-building or collaboration but increased awareness. ”

Transparency and Cooperative Learning

“We will argue that transparency is a dominant feature of social networking”

Philosophy of cooperative learning is directly related with one of the most important aspect of social networks in wish “the starting point is the individual or personal”. In opposition to the discussion forums, an individual always own is only personal page. So Individuality is always present. And it is as an individual that one share.
“In a discussion forum you are represented by your posts only, whereas you are always “present” in a social network through your personal page. ”

Transparency is particularly relevant within cooperative learning, where students are working on related projects or assignments but are not collaborating. Within cooperative online learning a central challenge is to enable students to follow the work of their colleagues. If students are unaware of the activities of fellow students, they might not make use of each other. This problem is reinforced within online education, where students do not meet face-to-face (Paulsen, 2008). ”

Furthermore, like in a network community, collaboration and cooperation are voluntary. Requiring transparency and using social networks as an attractive pedagogical tool, in cooperative learning student share and use community and individual awareness. “Cooperation will benefit when general and personal information related to the learning and the learners is available directly or indirectly to the learning community.”

Through transparency, quality is promoted because one is always seeking for better performances and “seeing and being seen it is much more easy and stimulating”.

Transparency implies that users to a certain extent can see and be seen, but it is important to find a suitable transparency level. Transparency is also an important driver for improved quality. It has the following three positive effects on quality
  • Preventive quality improvement -We are prone to provide better quality when we know that others have access to the information and contributions we provide.
  • Constructive quality improvement - We may learn from others when we have access to their data and contributions.
  • Reactive quality improvement - We may receive feedback from others when they have access to our data and contributions. ”
Web2.0 social software alows to increase performances on online education. Blogs, wikis, social networking sites, RSS, and social bookmarking become compelling tools in online education. In fact, now “users produce, share, and refine information of mutual interest and benefit for all community members”. Based in the “visibility “and “accessibility” all the productions are transparent and so shared and “cooperative”. And this cooperation can have the size that one can find appropriate. The same happens for evaluation “In cooperative learning environments, the findings and results should be reasonably transparent, and relevant information should be available to the appropriate user groups so that they can learn from the results and understand that they are members of a larger learning community. ”

Transparency: Potential for Online Education

One of the most related problems of Distance Education is the isolation of the student with all the consequences that are inherent to that.

Cooperative learning permits a conjugation of some ideal factors: A student does not have to abandon his individuality to belong, share and participate in a learning community. “This kind of sharing can provide students with insights into the workings of other students, and, thus, give them an increased consciousness and awareness of the activities of other students.”

Despite not being “new learning management systems”, Web 2.0 tools and social networks have become a pedagogical added value to on line learning. For the authors of this article, lying in “transparency and the ability to create awareness among students (…) social networking should be considered as a supplement to other tools”

In a sort of conclusion one can say these authors consider that the pedagogical potential of transparency lies within developing social networks in which students’ activities are visible to other students without denying them their individuality.
Cooperative learning and a socio-cultural approach provide a strong motive for support of transparency between student


• Christian Dalsgaard ,Morten Flate Paulsen; Transparency in Cooperative Online Education; International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning; Volume 10, Number 3; ISSN: 1492-3831 In http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/671/1267 Visited in 26/12/09

• Christian Dalsgaard, Social networking sites: Transparency in online education; Institute of Information and Media Studies, University of Aarhus, Helsingforsgade 14, 8200 Aarhus N,Denmark,http://eunis.dk/papers/p41.pdf%20%20 visited in 26/12/2009

• Morten F. Paulsen; Profiling Online Students in EDEN President’s Blog, Weblog of Alan W. Tait President of EDEN in collaboration with the Executive Committee http://www.eden-online.org/blog/2008/10/01/profiling-online-students/ visited in 26/12/2009

2 comentários:

  1. Hello, Teresa.

    I've liked your annotated bibliography.
    Your selection of the papers is useful to understand better the transparency theory and your own opinion is very clarifying.
    Keep the good work!