Work and Learning across Boundaries: Artifacts, Discourses, and Processes in a University Course

  • Mikhail Fominykh
  • Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland
  • Sobah Abbas Petersen
  • Monica Divitini
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8224)


Boundary objects can provide bridges across boundaries and facilitate collaboration between learners with different backgrounds. In this paper, we explore cooperation in a cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural context, focusing on the opportunities for learning that arise at different boundaries and on corresponding boundary objects to facilitate both collaboration and learning. We present and discuss a study we conducted within a Cooperation Technology course. The discussion provides implications for collaboration support across boundaries, including insights on why they are important, how to facilitate their creation, and how to use technologies for that.


cooperation technology boundary objects collaborative learning 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Fischer, G.: Distances and Diversity: Sources for Social Creativity. In: 5th Conference on Creativity & Cognition, April 12–15, pp. 128–136. ACM, London (2005)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Fischer, G., Rohde, M., Wulf, V.: Community-Based Learning: The Core Competency of Residential, Research Based Universities. International Journal for Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning 2(1), 9–40 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Anisetty, P., Young, P.: Collaboration problems in conducting a group project in a software engineering course. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges 26(5), 45–52 (2011)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Shuangyan, L., Joy, M., Griffiths, N.: Students’ Perceptions of the Factors Leading to Unsuccessful Group Collaboration. In: Jemni, M., Kinshuk Sampson, D., Spector, J.M. (eds.) 10th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), Sousse, Tunisia, July 5-7, pp. 565–569. IEEE (2010)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Wenger, E.: Communities of Practice and Social Learning Systems. Organization 7(2), 225–246 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fischer, G.: External and shareable artifacts as opportunities for social creativity in communities of interest. In: Gero, J.S., Maher, M.L. (eds.) 5th International Conference on Computational and Cognitive Models of Creative Design, Heron Island, Australia, December 9-13, pp. 67–89. University of Sydney (2001)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Star, S., Griesemer, J.: Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39. Social Studies of Science 19(3), 387–420 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Arias, E.G., Fischer, G.: Boundary Objects: Their Role in Articulating the Task at Hand and Making Information Relevant to It. In: International Symposium on Interactive & Collaborative Computing (ICC), Wollongong, Australia, December 12-15, pp. 567–574. ICSC Academic Press (2000)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Star, S.L.: The Structure of Ill-Structured Solutions: Boundary Objects and Heterogeneous Distributed Problem Solving. In: Distributed Artificial Intelligence, vol. II. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., San Mateo (1989)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Vygotsky, L.S.: Mind in society: the development of higher psychological processes. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1978)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Prasolova-Førland, E.: Virtual spaces as artifacts: implications for the design of educational CVEs. In: International Conference on Cyberworlds, Singapore, December 3-5, pp. 396–403 (2003)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fischer, G., Ostwald, J.: Knowledge Communication in Design Communities: And How They May Be Overcome. In: Bromme, R., Hesse, F., Spada, H. (eds.) Barriers and Biases in Computer-Mediated Knowledge Communication. Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Series, vol. 5, pp. 213–242. Springer (2005)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Huang, E.Y., Huang, T.K.: Measuring Boundary Objects in an Attempt to Explain Innovativeness. In: Ralph, H., Sprague, J. (eds.) 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), Wailea, HI, USA, January 7-10, pp. 3645–3653. IEEE (2013)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Beddall-Hill, N.L., Jonathan, R.: Mobile Devices as ‘Boundary Objects’ on Field Trips. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology 6(1), 28–46 (2010)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nolen, S.B., Horn, I.S., Ward, C.J., Childers, S.A.: Novice Teacher Learning and Motivation Across Contexts: Assessment Tools as Boundary Objects. Cognition and Instruction 29(1), 88–122 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Jansen, A., Herbel-Eisenmann, B., Smith, J.P.: Detecting Students’ Experiences of Discontinuities Between Middle School and High School Mathematics Programs: Learning During Boundary Crossing. Mathematical Thinking and Learning 14(4), 285–309 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Boud, D., Cressey, P., Docherty, P.: Productive reflection at work: learning for changing organizations. Routledge, London (2006)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Morozov, M., Gerasimov, A., Fominykh, M.: vAcademia – Educational Virtual World with 3D Recording. In: Kuijper, A., Sourin, A. (eds.) 12th International Conference on Cyberworlds (CW), Darmstadt, Germany, September 25-27, pp. 199–206. IEEE (2012)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Boud, D., Keogh, R., Walker, D.: Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning. Kogan Page, London (1985)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Glaser, B.G.: The Constant Comparative Method of Qualitative Analysis. Social Problems 12(4), 436–445 (1965)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gibbs, G.R.: Analysing Qualitative Data. SAGE Publications, London (2008)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ryan, G.W., Bernard, H.R.: Techniques to Identify Themes. Field Methods 15(1), 85–109 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Engeström, Y.: Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Orienta-Konsultit Oy, Helsinki (1987)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikhail Fominykh
    • 1
  • Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland
    • 1
  • Sobah Abbas Petersen
    • 2
  • Monica Divitini
    • 3
  1. 1.Program for Learning with ICTNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.SINTEF Technology & SocietyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Department of Computer and Information ScienceNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations