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Designing for Networked Collaborative Discourse: An UnLMS Approach

  • Bodong ChenEmail author
Original Paper


Supporting collaborative discourse with discussion forums in a typical Learning Management System (LMS) remains challenging. This article reports on a design case of an “unLMS” approach, which aimed to devise a networked learning environment not based on an LMS for collaborative discourse in an online course. To support such discourse, four design principles were proposed based on the literature and then used to guide technological and pedagogical designs. Following the principles, a networked learning environment was configured by harnessing emerging technologies of open textbooks, web annotation, and team communication. The designed environment was piloted in the online course. A survey was distributed at the end of the course to investigate student perceptions of the design. Student perceptions of the environment was overall positive in terms of usefulness and ease of use, despite several suggested refinements to improve the tool integration and to personalize student discourse experiences.


Collaborative discourse Networked learning Design case Learning environments LMS 



This paper was partially supported by an NSF Award (# 1657009). I thank Ramya Sivaraj for her assistance in setting up the survey and Dr. Stian Håklev for commenting on an earlier draft of this paper.


This study was funded by NSF (grant # 1657009).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications & Technology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA

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