Developing Electronic Portfolios in a Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Environment

Developing Electronic Portfolios in a Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Environment

Hamdi Erkunt (Bogazici University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-166-7.ch013
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Abstract

Can a traditional college course be enhanced with online collaborative learning, with similar attributes to knowledge work in the modern world? Can students be engaged in semester long online collaborative work culminating their efforts in electronic portfolios that cannot be completed without the collective work of the whole group? Will some those students achieve a greater conceptual understanding of the domain than others? How will students react and adapt to kind of learning that aligns itself with assessment? These were the main questions driving the research with forty seven college level senior pre-service EFL teachers enrolled in an ELT materials development course, who were engaged in collaborative learning throughout a semester and prepared electronic portfolios consisting of their selection of best student work, all performed over a networked collaborative environment. The main goal is to probe further into the alignment of learning, collaboration, and assessment in computer forums within the framework of collaborative knowledge building. This chapter describes a knowledge-building environment (KBE) and the role of knowledge building portfolios in characterizing and scaffolding collaborative inquiry. What follows are some concise descriptions of the crucial concepts employed in the framework of this research. They are somewhat extended within the discussion section.
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Introduction

Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) has become a significant research topic under learning sciences. Collaborative is an adjective that implies working in a group of two or more to achieve a common goal, while respecting each individual’s contribution to the whole. CSCL is based on socio-constructivist aspects of learning, which highlight both individual thinking and socially distributed knowledge construction or knowledge building (Koschmann, 1996; Paz Dennen, 2000). CSCL is based on the idea that computer applications can scaffold and implement advanced socio-cognitive processes for knowledge sharing and knowledge building (Paavola et al., 2002) where students have a chance to collaboratively make representations, develop explanations of the subject studied, and participate in expert-like practices of knowledge construction (Scardamalia and Bereiter, 1994). Sustained problem-based inquiry supported by collaborative technologies appears to offer sound teaching and learning methods with all parties assuming more proper cognitive involvement for learning and understanding (Lehtinen et al., 1999; Bereiter, 2002). CSCL environments provide tools to facilitate students’ advancement of inquiry, learning and knowledge building (Scardamalia and Bereiter, 1993). CSCL research is mostly concerned with the individual rather than collective learning and focus on how students learn rather than what they learn, with special emphasis on individual learning processes and outcomes (Lee, Chan and Aalst, 2006).

Several empirical studies have demonstrated the effects of CSCL on students’ learning, on the processes of students’ conceptual change and social collaboration. Students’ understanding of the science concepts can be enhanced by providing tools for organizing, representing and visualizing their knowledge (Pea et al., 1999; Roschelle and Pea, 1999). CSCL environments may also support learning interactions as Linn et al. (1998) found that middle school students were capable of creating coherent arguments, reflecting their ideas and explicating different perspectives on science in collaborative CSCL discussions.

Aligning assessment and instruction is a desirable goal that needs assessment approaches that characterize and scaffold individual and collective learning (Chan and Aalst, 2004). Students assessing themselves can be an integral part of their personal and collective learning. Most students habitually search out those aspects of any course that are most closely aligned with getting a good grade and then they target their efforts on those learning activities (Reeves, 2000; Biggs, 1996).

Collaboration is an intellectual and emotional venture that does not come naturally to participants because it involves partial losing of individual freedom of independent action as well as risking effort for vaguely probable returns. Conducive and supportive environments for collaboration are indispensable for the emergence of trust among collaborators, along with a more valuable and gratifying experience that comes with emotional bonding and communal support. All goal oriented human activity, however, that is carried on through certain culturally mediated means, artifacts and tools (including language and speech) is situated, self-regulative and collective (Bearison, 2001).

Portfolio assessment is “defined as any method by which a student’s work is stored over time so that it can be reviewed in relationship to both process and product” (Reeves, 2000, p. 108). Students can compose electronic portfolios with their pick of the best work of the collective output of the whole group either in face to face or online courses. A portfolio with multiple contributions from students is a group achievement that captures the distributed and progressive nature of collaborative knowledge creation; it is designed to scaffold the complex interactions between individual and collective knowledge improvement as students broaden their collective understanding by analyzing the discourse (Lee et al., 2006).

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Chao-Han Liu
Chapter 1
Lorna Uden, Nian-Shing Chen, Chun-Wang Wei, Jui-Chu Fan
The implementation of Online Synchronous Learning (OSL) poses many challenges to existing instruction technology theory because of the complexity of... Sample PDF
Online Synchronous English Learning from Activity Theory Perspectives
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Chapter 2
Eva Lindgren, Kirk P.H. Sullivan, Mats Deutschmann, Anders Steinvall
In a case study a University class undertook a translation from Swedish to English in a keystroke logging environment and then replayed their... Sample PDF
Supporting Learner Reflection in the Language Translation Class
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Chapter 3
Katsunori Kotani, Takehiko Yoshimi, Takeshi Kutsumi, Ichiko Sata, Hitoshi Isahara
In this chapter, the authors examined reading evaluation methods for foreign language learners based on learners’ reading processes. The goal of... Sample PDF
A Reading Evaluation Method for English as a Foreign Language Learners Based on Reading Performances
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Chapter 4
Robert Ariew, Jeremy Palmer
Enrollments in Arabic language programs are rapidly growing throughout the United States. Until recently, Arabic has received minimal attention in... Sample PDF
Developing Hypertext Reading Materials for the Teaching of Arabic
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Chapter 5
Bolanle A. Olaniran
This chapter explores computer-mediated communication (CMC) and information communication technology (ICT) use in language learning. More... Sample PDF
Culture and Language Learning in Computer-Enhanced or Assisted Language Learning
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Chapter 6
Indi Marie Williams, Heather N. Warren, Bolanle A. Olaniran
Within a globalized society, foreign language acquisition is essential to promote intercultural global communication. For many, the use of... Sample PDF
Achieving Cultural Acquiescence Through Foreign Language E-Learning
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Chapter 7
Eleonora Pantano, Assunta Tavernise
This chapter aims at illustrating how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) could be used to exploit and disseminate Cultural Heritage... Sample PDF
Learning Cultural Heritage Through Information and Communication Technologies: A Case Study
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Chapter 8
Wei-Peng Lien, Rita Kuo, Maiga Chang
This project aimed to construct a Blended Learning model with a lecture-review Web site, which would support students’ self-learning at home or in... Sample PDF
Using Blended Learning to Teach Foreign Brides Chinese
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Chapter 9
Terence Murphy
One central task faced by those interested in the corpus analysis of second language writing is how to measure ESL textual sophistication. While... Sample PDF
Exploring the Concept of Emergent Coherence in a Corpus of Korean EFL Texts
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Chapter 10
Giuseppe Conti, Raffaele De Amicis, Gabrio Girardi, Michele Andreolli, Stefano Piffer
In the past years the adoption of computer graphics to improve learning experience has seen a rising success. The wide availability of dedicated... Sample PDF
The Role of Interactive Computer Graphics to Augment the Learning Experience of Cultural Heritage Within Museums and Expositions
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Chapter 11
Yue Ming, Zhenjiang Miao
This chapter was inspired by the work of the designers of a Mandarin language e-learning as they attempted to find the best solution to deal with... Sample PDF
A Mandarin E-Learning System in Pervasive Environment
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Chapter 12
Jiyou Jia
Computer Simulation in Educational Communication (CSIEC), is not only an intelligent Web-based human-computer dialogue system with natural language... Sample PDF
An Intelligent Web-Based Human-Computer Interaction System with Natural Language CSIEC and its Integration into English Instruction
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Chapter 13
Hamdi Erkunt
Can a traditional college course be enhanced with online collaborative learning, with similar attributes to knowledge work in the modern world? Can... Sample PDF
Developing Electronic Portfolios in a Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Environment
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Chapter 14
Min Kang
The goal of this chapter is to explain several experiments carried out by our research group to explore whether synthetic speech can be currently... Sample PDF
Synthetic Speech in Computer-Enhanced Foreign Language Learning
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Chapter 15
Niki Lambropoulos, Martha Christopoulou, Kosmas Vlachos
This chapter presents culture-based language-learning objects (CLLOs) in computer-assisted language learning (CALL), supported by user-centered... Sample PDF
Culture-Based Language Learning Objects: A CALL Approach for a Ubiquitous World
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Chapter 16
Nektaria Palaiologou
Nowadays, it is a common ascertainment that information and communication technologies (ICTs) and networked learning are not easy to access for many... Sample PDF
Intercultural Dimensions in the Information Society: Reflections on Designing and Developing Culturally Oriented Learning
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Chapter 17
Karen L. Murphy, Yakut Gazi, Lauren Cifuentes
This chapter addresses the question, “How can we overcome potential cultural discontinuities in online collaborative project-based learning... Sample PDF
Intercultural Collaborative Project-Based Learning in Online Environments
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Chapter 18
Diane Boehm, Lilianna Aniola-Jedrzejek
This chapter presents seven principles of good practice for conducting virtual international collaborations with students. The authors have... Sample PDF
Seven Principles of Good Practice for Virtual International Collaboration
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Chapter 19
Rita Zaltsman
The present chapter assesses the key questions of communication barriers in distance learning virtual communities. To examine their cultural... Sample PDF
Communication Barriers and Conflicts in Cross-Cultural E-Learning
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About the Contributors