Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning and the Central Research Questions: Two Illustrative Vignettes

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning and the Central Research Questions: Two Illustrative Vignettes

Tony Carr (University of Cape Town, South Africa), Vic Lally (The Mental Health Foundation, UK & University of Sheffield, UK), Maarten de Laat (University of Southampton, UK) and Glen Cox (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-971-7.ch009
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Abstract

This chapter examines the theoretical and conceptual issues involved in gathering evidence to build a database for the design of virtual higher education (computer supported collaborative learning — CSCL — and networked learning — NL). After briefly surveying the current state of CSCL/NL research and its lack of theoretical synthesis, we propose three high-level research questions as a way of focusing our efforts on finding answers. We then offer two vignettes of empirical case studies from our own research. These studies are used to illustrate the challenges to be faced, and possible approaches to be used, in addressing the questions. In particular, we look at the way theory and praxis (theory-informed practice) might be more effectively engaged through “theory-praxis conversations,” in order to make effective use of empirical data in building the evidence base that will be needed to design and build virtual higher education over the next 10 years.

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