The role of teacher assistance on the effects of a macro-script in collaborative writing tasks
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Some recent proposals on CSCL scripts have suggested that one key factor for their effectiveness is the ability of the teacher to adapt the scripts to the students and to the specific teaching and learning situations. In this context, this paper presents a multiple-case study dealing with the relationship between the assistance given by the teacher during the collaborative process and the forms of collaborative work developed by groups of university students in two natural settings, in which two different types of macro-script are used. Specifically, the study sets itself three objectives: (1) to identify patterns of teacher assistance to the collaborative work developed by the groups; (2) to identify the forms of collaborative work developed by the groups; and (3) to explore the relationships between the patterns of teacher assistance, the forms of collaborative work and the level of performance achieved by the groups. The results show two different patterns of teacher assistance in the two settings. These patterns differ on four dimensions: the aspect of the task on which the teacher was offering assistance, the moment in which the assistance was offered, the recipient of the assistance, and whether the assistance offered by the teacher was spontaneous or requested by the students. These patterns are related with the forms of collaborative work developed by the groups (how the group is organized and how the written work is produced) within the structural framework imposed, in each setting, by the macro-script.
KeywordsCSCL scripts Higher education Patterns of group organisation Phases of collaborative knowledge construction Teacher assistance
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