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Context Aware CSCL: Moving Toward Contextualized Analysis

Publication Type:

Conference Proceedings


CSCL 2011, Hong Kong, p.591-596 (2011)


Groups change over time. CSCL groups, unlike face to face groups, leave evidence of their interactions behind in the form of system logs. To this point, much analysis of system logs has been opportunistic; researchers and tool developers make visible what is available.
A number of specific empirical studies have pointed to the promise of using log data for process modeling, stochastic modeling, dependency graph construction and other strategies for unpacking and explaining the interactive, and dynamic relationships that unfold in CSCL systems. We have been studying a system supporting context awareness and learning in completely online CSCL groups for four years using a new type of logging infrastructure intended to increase participant awareness of their social context. Analysis of this and related data has resulted in a number of published studies pointing to the potential for understanding how groups emerge, change and disband in completely online CSCL courses. These publications, and our research program more broadly have led us to an important sociotechnical insight, and a possible theoretical contribution. The socio-technical insight is that logs can be designed, and should be designed to capture the data that helps to support both member awareness in a socio-technical environment and the needs of researchers to better understand collaborative learning interactions. We use CANS logs as a foundation for analysis, and explain the restructuring of those logs to reflect the online social experience of users more accurately. We then apply this socio-technical insight to advocate for exploring CSCL group interaction from a more socially focused theoretical perspective.