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Situating CoWeb: a scholarship of application

Abstract

Since 1998, we have been developing and researching CoWeb, a version of Wiki designed to support collaborative learning. In this article, we summarize our results of situating CoWeb across the academic landscape of Georgia Tech. In architecture, CoWeb enabled faculty to serve more students in a design-based course. In English composition, a comparison study demonstrated significant learning benefits without incurring disproportionate costs. Yet, situating CoWeb was not always successful. In many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) classes, students actively resisted collaboration. From these studies, we conclude that the culture of the classroom and the discipline needs to be compatible with the medium for computer-supported collaborative learning to be effective. Finally, we demonstrate how collaboration can be designed into the culture. A new class on introductory computing was explicitly designed to take advantage of the collaborative possibilities that CoWeb affords. We report our findings of the success of this approach. We characterize this research as a scholarship of application. We demonstrate that this mode of scholarship is a viable mode of scholarship in the learning sciences. Unlike traditional scholarship of discovery, we are not solely concerned with discovering new knowledge. Instead, we support others in the application of a new technology to serve genuine and complex learning situations. By doing so, we seek to understand the potential that one new medium, a Wiki, has for supporting learning.

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Correspondence to Jochen Rick.

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Rick, J., Guzdial, M. Situating CoWeb: a scholarship of application. Computer Supported Learning 1, 89–115 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11412-006-6842-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11412-006-6842-6

Keywords

  • Design-based research
  • Scholarship of application
  • WikiWikiWeb
  • CoWeb
  • Multimedia
  • Media theory
  • Culture of the classroom