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ERIC Number: EJ1148293
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jun
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1556-1607
Life History of a Topic in an Online Discussion: A Complex Systems Theory Perspective on How One Message Attracts Class Members to Create Meaning Collaboratively
Vogler, Jane S.; Schallert, Diane L.; Jordan, Michelle E.; Song, Kwangok; Sanders, Anke J. Z.; Te Chiang, Yueh-hui Yan; Lee, Ji-Eun; Park, Jeongbin Hannah; Yu, Li-Tang
International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, v12 n2 p173-194 Jun 2017
Complex adaptive systems theory served as a framework for this qualitative study exploring the process of how meaning emerges from the collective interactions of individuals in a synchronous online discussion through their shared words about a topic. In an effort to bridge levels of analysis from the individual to the small group to the community, we analyzed how a group of students introduced, sustained, and eventually let go of one topic while participating in a classroom discussion that took place in a CSCL environment. Our purpose was to examine a single posted message's influence not only through the responses it garnered, but also by how individuals reacted to it intellectually. Participants were eight students and their teacher in a graduate-level seminar. Data sources included the online discussion's final transcript, screen-captured recordings of each participant's computer screen, video recordings of participants' actions, and observation notes. Our analyses revealed three key understandings: (a) the interdependencies of process and content are manifestations of the complex development of co-created understandings in computer-supported discussions, (b) private individual processes and particular meanings co-mingle in a social space to create publicly shared experiences, and (c) the importance of attending to the content was shown in the details of a topic's incipience, its developing "mid-life," and how factors conspired to its end. These findings help illustrate how co-created meaning-making experiences emerge in a system through interactions among individual agents, suggesting ways instructors may work to foster student learning in CSCL contexts.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A