New P2PU course: Intro to Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

April 25, 2011, [MD]

I have been intimately involved with P2PU since the first courses started in September 2009, working on supporting course organizers, designing and developing some of the technology, and thinking about the models of learning interactions that we wanted to support. However, I have still not taught a single course myself. Time to change that!

I am currently doing my PhD at OISE, University of Toronto, as part of the Encore lab. Our work is located within the field of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, a very fascinating field which I have been spending the last year getting into, and whose major conference I will attend for the first time this summer in Hong Kong. However, when getting into this field, I faced one challenge - OISE does not offer any courses directly on CSCL. Instead, you have to kind of "pick it up" by talking to fellow students, and your supervisor, doing the core readings yourself, etc.

I figured this would be a great topic for a P2PU course. Much of the foundational literature in the course is open access (both because it is a relatively young field, and because many of the core researchers support OA - the core journal in the field is entirely OA, for example, meaning that we would be able to link to key readings without worrying about people being able to access them). In addition, the idea behind P2PU is "peer-learning", and this would be a true example: I am not organizing this course because I am an expert, but because I want someone to learn with.

I was lucky enough to find Monica Resendes, a PhD student with the IKIT lab, also at OISE/University of Toronto. It's been very interesting discussing our different ideas about how we should approach this, and I really appreciate not doing this by myself.

To get a feeling for the field, we began by surveying the key academics (as identified by being on the board of ijCSCL, the annual conference committee, etc) and looking at the people who had posted their syllabi online. We found about fifteen faculty who had done this (and often they had course syllabi going ten years back, many times with open wikis so we could see their students' work as well). This gave us a sense of how core faculty see "the field", and which topics we should cover. There was much more than could be covered in an eight-week course, so we decided to create a separate "analysis and assessment" course, which will hopefully run sometime in the fall.

We began writing up a course outline on Google Docs, with tentative readings, and a structure for the course. We are doing some interesting things with badges (see also our current badge platform, and the badge whitepaper), as well as with core and network participants, inspired by the Wiley wikis on one hand, and the Massive Open Online Courses (more) on the other.

I hope you will join us - either as a core participant (sign up is open for another week), or as a part of our network (go to the course website, and click Follow). We would love for the discussions in the course to take on a life outside of the course - maybe someone will write a blog entry, record a YouTube video, or edit a wiki page that gets retweeted, reblogged and discussed about far outside the confines of the course. The topics should certainly be interesting to a wide variety of folks.

Here is the introductory video (we'll aim to do one of these a week, usually much shorter though):

Hope to see you, and looking forward to all the conversations!


Stian HĂ„klev April 25, 2011 Toronto, Canada
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