Using An Unstructured Collaboration Tool to Support Peer Interaction in Large College Classes
Zimring, Craig M.
Craig, David Latch
Kehoe, Colleen Mary
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Peer interaction may be a useful strategy for having students express their knowledge and get personalized feedback in large classes. In this paper we look at how a CoWeb an unstructured collaboration space was used to support a large college design class. Although the CoWeb was used for several purposes, we focus specifically on how it was used to support class discussions. We start with why we feel CoWeb discussions, and more generally online peer interaction, may be useful in light of our pedagogical goals. We then analyze the structure of the discussions and how students perceived them, and discuss how the online environment may have influenced behavior. From this analysis, we conclude the CoWeb was effective in helping students think about open-ended issues through online peer interaction. However, we also conclude that providing some structure might help online discussions appear more coherent and productive.