Using Activity Theory to Assess the Effectiveness of an Online Learning Community: A Case Study in Remote Collaboration Using a 3D Virtual Environment

Using Activity Theory to Assess the Effectiveness of an Online Learning Community: A Case Study in Remote Collaboration Using a 3D Virtual Environment

Theodor G. Wyeld (Flinders University, Norway) and Ekaterina Prasolova-Forland (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-340-1.ch013
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Remote, collaborative work practices are increasingly common in a globalised society. Simulating these environments in a pedagogical setting allows students to engage in cross-cultural exchanges encountered in the profession. However, identifying the pedagogical benefits of students collaborating remotely on a single project presents numerous challenges. Activity Theory (AT) provides a means for monitoring and making sense of their activities as individuals and as a collective. AT assists in researching the personal and social construction of students’ intersubjective cognitive representations of their own learning activities. Moreover, AT makes the socially constructed cultural scripts captured in their cross-cultural exchanges analysable. Students’ reflection on these scripts and their roles in them helps them better understand the heterogeneity of the cultures encountered. In this chapter Engestrom’s (1999) simple AT triangular relationship of activity, action and operation is used to analyze and provide insights into how students cooperate with each other across different cultures in a 3D collaborative virtual environment.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Demosthenes Akoumianakis
This chapter aims to provide an introductory tutorial to the key topics and themes suggested in the chapter’s title and further developed by authors... Sample PDF
New Media, Communities, and Social Practice: An Introductory Tutorial
Chapter 2
Edurne Loyarte, Olga Rivera
Communities of practice (CoPs) have been taken into account by both practitioners and academics during the last ten years. From a strategic point of... Sample PDF
Conditions and Key Success Factors for the Management of Communities of Practice
Chapter 3
Richard Ribeiro, Chris Kimble
This chapter examines the possibility of discovering a “hidden” (potential) Community of Practice (CoP) inside electronic networks, and then using... Sample PDF
The Search for the 'Hidden' Virtual Communities of Practice: Some Preliminary Premises
Chapter 4
Kam Hou Vat
The chapter investigates an actionable framework of knowledge sharing, from the perspective of appreciative inquiry. This framework should... Sample PDF
The Generative Potential of Appreciative Inquiry for CoP: The Virtual Enterprise's Emergent Knowledge Model
Chapter 5
Natalie Pang
The main goal of this chapter is to demonstrate how purposeful participatory design can be used to construct a virtual knowledge commons that both... Sample PDF
The Role of Participatory Design in Constructing the Virtual Knowledge Commons
Chapter 6
Demosthenes Akoumianakis
This chapter proposes and discusses the “social” experience factory (SEF). The SEF provides a general model and architecture supporting... Sample PDF
The 'Social Experience Factory' and the Fabrics of Collaboration in Virtual Communities of Practice
Chapter 7
Evangelia Mantzari, George Lekakos, Adam Vrechopoulos
Until recently, television viewing was perceived as a passive experience that aimed in satisfying a person’s or a group’s need for entertainment... Sample PDF
Social TV: Building Virtual Communities to Enhance the Digital Interactive Television Viewing Experience
Chapter 8
Diana Schimke, Heidrun Stoeger, Albert Ziegler
Participation and system usage is crucial for virtual communities to develop and sustain. However, many communities report very low participation... Sample PDF
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Social Visualization within Virtual Communities
Chapter 9
Ioannis Barbounakis, Michalis Zervakis
The authors have been running the second decade since the time that pioneers in Grid started to work on a technology which seemed similar to its... Sample PDF
GRIDS in Community Settings
Chapter 10
Vivian Hsueh Hua Chen, Henry Been Lirn Duh
Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) allows a large number of players to cooperate, compete and interact meaningfully in the online environment.... Sample PDF
Socializing in the Online Gaming Community: Social Interaction in World of Warcraft
Chapter 11
Stelios Sfakianakis
In this chapter the authors aim to portray the social aspects of the World Wide Web and the current and emerging trends in “Social Web”. The Social... Sample PDF
Social Semantic Web and Semantic Web Services
Chapter 12
George Triantafylliadis, Nikolaos Grammalidis, Dimitiros Tzovaras
Extending visual communications to the third dimension (3D) has been a dream over decades. The ultimate goal of the viewing experience is to create... Sample PDF
Virtual Community Practice Toolkits Using 3D Imaging Technologies
Chapter 13
Theodor G. Wyeld, Ekaterina Prasolova-Forland
Remote, collaborative work practices are increasingly common in a globalised society. Simulating these environments in a pedagogical setting allows... Sample PDF
Using Activity Theory to Assess the Effectiveness of an Online Learning Community: A Case Study in Remote Collaboration Using a 3D Virtual Environment
Chapter 14
Wesley Shumar
This chapter draws upon contemporary social theory to make an argument about the ways that teachers create personalized communities of practice at... Sample PDF
Interaction, Imagination and Community Building at the Math Forum
Chapter 15
Demosthenes Akoumianakis, Giannis Milolidakis, George Vellis, Dimitrios Kotsalis
This chapter concentrates on the development of practice-specific toolkits for managing on-line practices in the context of virtual communities of... Sample PDF
Designing Practice-Oriented Interactive Vocabularies for Workflow-Based Virtual CoP
Chapter 16
Josefina Guerrero Garcia, Jean Vanderdonckt, Juan Manuel Gonzalez Calleros
Technology to support groups is rapidly growing in use. In recent years, the Web has become a privileged platform for implementing... Sample PDF
Developing User Interfaces for Community-Oriented Workflow Information Systems
Chapter 17
Maonolis Tsiknakis
This chapter provides an overview and discussion of virtual communities in health and social care. The available literature indicates that a virtual... Sample PDF
Virtual Communities in Health and Social Care
Chapter 18
Dimitrina Dimitrova, Emmanuel Koku
This chapter examines a community of professionals, created by a government agency and charged with conducting country-wide, cross-disciplinary, and... Sample PDF
Research Communities in Context: Trust, Independence, and Technology in Professional Communities
Chapter 19
Chrisoula Alexandraki, Nikolas Valsamakis
The chapter provides an overview of virtual music communities focusing on novel collaboration environments aiming to support networked and... Sample PDF
Enabling Virtual Music Performance Communities
Chapter 20
Chris Stary
Knowledge acquisition in E-Learning environments requires both, individualization of content, and social interaction based on relevant learning... Sample PDF
Sustainable E-Learning Communities
Chapter 21
Nikolas Vidakis, Dimitrios Kotsalis, Giannis Milolidakis, George Vellis
This chapter describes recent work and experience in setting up and supporting cross-organization virtual communities of practice to facilitate new... Sample PDF
Cross-Organization Virtual CoPs in E-Tourism: Assembling Information-Based Products
Chapter 22
Demosthenes Akoumianakis
This chapter attempts to consolidate concepts, ideas and results reported in this volume in an effort to synthesize an agenda and sketch a roadmap... Sample PDF
Social Interactive Media and Virtual Community Practices: Retrospective and an R&D Agenda
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