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A Qualitative Analysis of Collaborative Knowledge Construction Through Shared Representations

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Title:A Qualitative Analysis of Collaborative Knowledge Construction Through Shared Representations
Authors:Suthers, Daniel D.
Keywords:Computer supported collaborative learning
Knowledge construction
Representational affordances
Qualitative analysis
Computer science
show 2 moreOnline synchronous interaction
Social sciences
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Date Issued:Jul 2006
Publisher:World Scientific Publishing Company
Citation:Suthers, Daniel D. "A Qualitative Analysis of Collaborative Knowledge Construction Through Shared Representations." Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning 1, no. 2 (July 2006): 115-142.
Abstract:This paper takes one step towards addressing the question of how activity mediated by shared representations — notations that are manipulated by more than one person — might constitute knowledge construction activity, and how the shared representations are appropriated for this purpose. The primary contribution of this paper is a methodology for qualitative analysis of activity in a workspace built on the concept of "uptake": how participants take up and build on prior contributions. By examining patterns of uptake we can see ways in which participants' activities constitute an intersubjective cognitive activity distributed across persons and the representations they are manipulating. The analysis is conducted in three phases: identification of acts of media manipulation, identification of information uptake relations between these acts, and application of theoretical perspectives to identify evidence of knowledge construction via the representational media. The uptake graph is intended to minimize theoretical commitments in order to support eclectic analysis. The methodology is applied to data from a prior study in which participants collaborated via an evidence map and a chat tool. These case examples illustrate how the methodology uncovered argumentation and knowledge construction conducted solely through the graph workspace.
Pages/Duration:25 pages
Rights:Preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning© 2006. Copyright World Scientific Publishing Company. Journal url:
Appears in Collections: ICS & LIS Faculty & Researcher Works
Suthers, Daniel D

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