Join us on Tuesday August 2nd for a CRLI Methods workshop, Online, on-campus and on country professional development. It will be an informal talk with Melinda Lewis.

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An informal talk about the affordances and constraints of designing and developing online professional development for teaching staff, within the context of the university systems & protocols, and through the content of cultural competence.

Bring your laptop, because participation includes a 'hands-on' experience, exploring the Educational Innovation program for teachers and the National Centre for Cultural Competence online modules launched on Friday 22nd July.

  • Where: CoCo Lab (Room 237, Education Builiding A35)
  • When: Tuesday August 2nd, 12.00-1.30pm
  • Participants should bring a laptop.
  • Are you interested in educational innovation? Engaged in research on learning? Want to collaborate with others on research and development that can improve learning opportunities for everyone?

    RSVP to attend our launch on August 2nd, and find out more about our work and how you can connect with us at the Centre. At the launch, you will be able to hear some of our research leaders speak about:

    • Our current research capabilities and future research directions

    • New ways of bridging between research, policy and practice

    • Ways you can engage more closely in the centre’s work

    Learn more about:

    • Our Special Interest Groups – how you can join existing groups or start your own SIG

    • Our program of events: seminars, symposia, workshops, Research Fest, etc

    • Opportunities to join in programs of collaborative research and development

    • Opportunities to network with our collaborators in leading research centres around the world

    Please RSVP to attend at http://bit.ly/CRLIlaunch
    WHEN: 2nd August 2016, 5.00pm - 7.00pm
    WHERE: Room 351 (the Large Lecture Theatre) in the Education Building A35, followed by light refreshments in Common Room 401.
    RSVP: before Mon 25th July at http://bit.ly/CRLIlaunch - essential for catering purposes. Light refreshments will be provided.

    We are currently seeking two Postgraduate Fellows to join our growing team at the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI).

    • Complete your PhD in a thriving new research centre
    • Gain valuable research experience and help develop ground-breaking innovations in higher education alongside internationally-renowned colleagues
    • Part-time (0.5FTE), fixed term for 3 years, remuneration package $41K (which includes salary, leave loading and up to 17% superannuation)

    Postgraduate Fellows will need to enrol for a full-time PhD on a topic within the centre’s field of study. The positions are part-time (0.5FTE, Level A, Step 1) for three years from commencement, working 18.75 hours a week on a range of CRLI projects, supervised by a senior member of CRLI and with opportunities to work in, and publish with, a team of experienced and early-career researchers. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain a PhD and to develop your research skills and research profile as a valued member of one of Australia’s leading research centres. Together, we will move research on learning and innovation forward, and help invent the future of learning.

    For more information see Postgraduate Fellows Ref 1174/0716 on the University recruitment site at http://sydney.nga.net.au/

    Join us on August 3rd, when we restart our Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminars for semester 2, with a presentation by Associate Professor Nina Bonderup Dohn; "Designing for transformation of situated knowledge.

    Nina-267.jpgNina will present on her and her colleagues’ current project, Designing for Situated Knowledge in a World of Change, supported by the Danish Council for Independent Research. Today's world is characterized by diversity, frequent change, and globalization, which requires people to traverse a range of different settings and to often use knowledge, learnt in one setting, in new contexts. But research in practice theory and situated learning has shown that knowledge is situated, i.e. acquires form and content from the context in which it is learnt. In this talk, Nina will focus on philosophical and design theoretical aspects of this challenge, discussing:
    :: What is involved in transforming knowledge from one context to another?
    :: Is it possible to design learning opportunities for others to support them in learning to transform knowledge across contexts?
    :: If yes, what would be design principles for such learning opportunities?

    Nina Bonderup Dohn is an Associate Professor in Humanistic Information Science at the Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 3 August 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here.

    The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

    Westpac is offering postgraduate scholarships for talented individuals. Applicants will be chosen for their potential to make a difference in the areas of Technology and Innovation, Enabling Positive social change or Strengthening Australia-Asia ties.

    Valued at up to $120,000 over 2-3 years, scholarships will be awarded annually for research or coursework studies at graduate level. Applications are open to Australian citizens and permanent residents who have completed an undergraduate degree within the last five years, or will complete in the year of application.

    For more details and how to apply see http://bicentennial.westpacgroup.com.au/scholarships/future-leaders/. Closing date for applications is 31 August 2016.

    Join us on June 15 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Enhancing workplace learning through mobile technology, with Professor Franziska Trede.

    Trede267.jpgWorkplace learning and technology-mediated learning are two key foci for university education. Unfortunately, they often remain separate discourses and practices, even though their integration could provide important opportunities to bridge education and work contexts and build students’ digital capacities; on- and offline professional identities; and technology-mediated work practices. In this 90-minute workshop, participants will learn about the two-year multi-site research project “Enhancing workplace learning through mobile technology", which has been funded by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching and is being led by Charles Sturt University, in collaboration with The University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and Deakin University.

    Lead researcher Professor Franziska Trede will also outline the processes used to develop mobile resources for learning in workplace settings. Participants will trial a set of resources, share their ideas and feedback and, hopefully, develop a better understanding of the possibilities and challenges of effectively using mobile technology to enrich learning experiences on placement. This workshop will outline the theoretical foundations of the project, and draw on preliminary findings aimed at helping students, academics and workplace placement educators make better use of personal, mobile technologies to connect learning and work. It will workshop an emerging mobile technology capacity-building framework and its resources and design patterns and how they could be translated into course specific resources

    Project website ttp://www.csu.edu.au/efpi/wpltech
    Project blog https://wpltech.wordpress.com

    The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 15 June 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here.

    Join us on June for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "The Local Games Lab: Grassroots engagement with games, learning, mobile, and place, with Associate Professor Chris Holden.

    Holden.jpgBecause videogames are complex media properties, their design and use in the name of learning has been often limited to researchers and publishers of significant means. More recently however, new tools and changes to the world at large - especially the near ubiquitous adoption of smartphones - have opened up new, more accessible avenues. Games can become something much more akin to vernacular. However, hardware and software are not the only obstacles to meaningful change. It is necessary to rethink our assumptions and traditions regarding who gets to be in the driver’s seat, and develop participatory models of research, implementation, and interpretation.

    One such model is a Local Games Lab—a name for what happens when early adopters can develop experience and expertise to recruit and support diverse participation in game design and use locally. The name also refers to the dimension of place as a strong organizing principle allowing us to bring together diverse stakeholders and an area of game design that may be only ever entertained outside the commercial mainstream. By learning how to grow and sustain game development and use within individual communities, we may be able to reach more than enthusiasts and institutions, and greatly increase the capacity for many to see games as general tools for expression and purpose.

    Since 2008, I have been involved in educational game design myself at UNM and recruited other faculty, students, and community members into the mix as a way to help them achieve their own ambitions through design: The Local Games Lab ABQ. We have developed a tradition of exploration, development, and sharing though we lack the institutional or economic resources to establish and organize such a “center”. In this talk I’d like to share some the history of the Local Games Lab ABQ: our projects and their aims, but also how our local work connects us to themes that extend beyond the provincial: how games, place, and learning comes together in augmented reality, how tools like ARIS—an open-source, easy-to-use augmented reality platform—have both enabled us to create and make use of games and to contribute back to the emerging affinity spaces of those exploring game design for learning across many locales.

    Read more...

    Join us on May 11 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Conceptualizing Debates in Learning and Educational Research: Towards a Complex Systems Conceptual Framework of Learning, with Professor Michael J. Jacobson and Professor Peter Reimann.

    This seminar provides an overview of a paper, just published by Educational Psychologist, that proposes a conceptual framework of learning based on perspectives and methodologies being employed in the study of complex physical and social systems to inform educational research.

    We argue that the contexts in which learning occurs are complex systems with elements or agents at different levels—including neuronal, cognitive, intrapersonal, interpersonal, cultural—in which there are feedback interactions within and across levels of the systems so that collective properties arise (i.e., emerge) from the behaviors of the parts, often with properties that are not individually exhibited by those parts. We analyze the long running cognitive versus situative learning debate and propose that a complex systems conceptual framework of learning (CSCFL) provides a principled way to achieve a theoretical rapprochement. We conclude with a consideration of more general implications of the CSCFL for educational theory and research.

    Michael J. Jacobson, Ph.D., is a Professor and Chair of Education in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, a Honorary Associate in the School of Medical Sciences, and Co-Director of the Learning, Cognition, and Brain Research Group at the University of Sydney. Peter Reimann, Ph.D., is a Professor of Education at University of Sydney and co-director of the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation.

    The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 11 May 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here.

    Join us on May 4 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Online and off-screen (inter)actions in online learning, with Janica Nordstrom.

    Evidence is mounting that, in order to understand students’ participation in online learning, research needs to expand the field of inquiry beyond the computer screen, to examine how students physical environment and ‘off-screen’ actions affect their online participation and interactions.

    In this seminar, Janica will focus on her ethnographic doctoral study of one Swedish community-language class taught in blended mode. Community-language schools are schools offering complementary language education to students in K-12 context. In a response to decline in enrolments and motivation, some schools have begun offering online, distance-learning programs. To explore how students constructed their participation in synchronous text-based computer-mediated communication, Camtasia recordings of online lessons as well as video recordings of their physical environment were employed. Focusing on both online and ‘off-screen’ actions, a multimodal interaction analysis approach allowed for simultaneous analysis of complex networks of (inter)actions and how they co-existed. Findings showed that students drew heavily on off-screen interactions and technological resources unknown to their teacher and peers, suggesting that the boundaries of the learning environment were fluid and flexible.


    The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 4 May 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here.

    400dpiLogo.png
    The integration of authentic work-based activities and technology-mediated learning can provide important opportunities to bridge education and work contexts and build students’ digital capacities, online professional identities and technology-mediated work practices. However, Workplace learning (WPL) and technology-mediated learning do not always intersect in practice.

    The OLT project “Enhancing workplace learning through mobile technology” is developing a set of resources to help students make the most of their WPL experience using mobile technology. As a part of this, the project team has developed a resource "The GPS for WPL" and a set of initial design patterns to help academics and workplace educators/supervisors to create learning experiences that enhance students’ capacities to use personal mobile devices productively for workplace learning.

    The project team is now seeking for feedback on how these initial resources and patterns can be improved, and invites all academics, workplace educators, learning designers and students to review these initial resources and patterns, and provide their suggestions. To give your feedback, please review one or all of the following resources and follow the prompts after clicking on “Give us Feedback” icon located at the top and bottom of each resource.


    • The GPS for WPL: An online resource for students to help them navigate the WPL landscape using mobile technology.
    • Initiating Dialogue: A pattern to help design resources or structured discussions that lead to clarifying expectations, pedagogical use and generally a shared understanding about the use of mobile technology on placement.
    • Planning Learning Experiences: A pattern to help design resources or activities to prepare students’ for their WPL experiences.
    • Networking Activities: A pattern to help design resources or activities that support live collaboration and interactions between students, academics, workplace educators or supervisors.
    • Creating Your Own ‘On-The-Go’ Activities: A pattern to help design resources that allow students to construct participatory and self-directed WPL learning activities.
    • Professional and Safe Conduct: A pattern to help design resources or activities to determine ways of developing and maintaining professional and safe conduct for students’ use of mobile technology while on placement.

    More information can be found in the information sheet (for academics, for WPE or for students). If you have any questions or would like to take part in a focus group or be interviewed, please email Dr Celina McEwen.

    Note: The resources were developed as part of a two-year research project funded by the Commonwealth Government Office for Learning and Teaching, conducted by Franziska Trede (Charles Sturt University), Peter Goodyear (The University of Sydney), Susie Macfarlane (Deakin University), Lina Markauskaite (The University of Sydney), Freny Tayebjee (Western Sydney University), Patricia Parish (Western Sydney University) and Celina McEwen (Charles Sturt University).

    Join us on April 27 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Justifying qualitative research" with Dr Fiona Hibberd.

    In psychology, those wanting to justify use of qualitative methods often cite the discipline’s uncritical adherence to an outmoded positivist philosophy of science as the source of its obsession with quantitative practices. They point to more recent philosophies including social constructionism, constructivism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, hermeneutics, phenomenology and critical realism as alternatives to positivism. Proponents of this idea argue that these alternatives better accommodate subjects’ contextual lived experiences and the meanings they give to them; the importance of inquirer–subject interactions, and the theory- and value-ladenness of facts.

    In this talk, Dr Hibberd will argue that using these philosophies to justify qualitative research is misguided; note a different source of mainstream psychology’s preoccupation with quantitative research; and provide a very different justification for qualitative research following from a realist understanding of the nature of reality. Her presentation will demonstrate this rationale unfolds from a metaphysical package about which we have no choice, a package that also exposes the myth that psychologists measure psychological attributes.

    Dr Hibberd specialises in examining the foundational questions in psychology. This involves testing the theories, concepts and presuppositions that drive psychology's research.

    The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 27 April 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here.

    Join us on April 20 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Failing to follow instructions: The neuroscience of goal neglect and its implications for teaching complex materials" with Gareth Roberts.

    Failing to follow instructions is a common trait of students who perform poorly in the classroom. Neuroscience research may be particularly informative in understanding this phenomenon, and consequently lead to more effective educational interventions.

    In this talk I will discuss my research stream on goal neglect, a mismatch in behaviour where people are able to verbally recall task instructions but show no attempt to perform them in behaviour. Frequently described in historical accounts of major damage to the frontal lobes, goal neglect is not due to memory, motor or perceptual problems, but rather reflects a core cognitive deficit in coordinating complex steps of behaviour. I will outline the neuroscience of how people learn rapidly from verbal instructions and how this is achieved through the coordinated activity of prefrontal and parietal cortices. In addition, I will provide an overview of research I have conducted with children, adults, and different neuroimaging methodologies. Finally, I will discuss the implications this research has on the teaching of complex material in the classroom, and how these findings can be incorporated into practice.

    Gareth is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Psychology and CoCo. He applies modern analytical and neuroscientific approaches to investigate the transfer of abstract knowledge to novel situations and how to best influence a participant's learning strategy.

    The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 20 April 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here.

    LARG.jpgRegister now to attend a hands-on learning analytics workshop, Using Learning Analytics to Provide Personalised Support to Your Semester 1 Students on April 14th.

    This workshop is being held as part of an Educational Innovation Grant Project by Dr Melanie Keep, Professor Adam Bridgeman, Dr Kathryn Bartimote-Aufflick, Dr Abelardo Pardo, Dr Danny Liu, Professor Charlotte Taylor and Dr Hong-Dao Nguyen. For more information about the project or to participate, please see http://bit.ly/1PPjte5.

    Read more...

    Join us on April 6 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Shall We Play A Game? Connections between visual attention and reading." with Dr Piergiorgio Trevisan.

    Learning to read is difficult for about 10 per cent of students, although this proportion varies significantly, depending on the language involved. Struggling to acquire reading skills has severe consequences for students' literacy and therefore on crucial aspects of life. Reading difficulties are often caused by dyslexia, a neurodevelopmental disorder, the causes of which are still hotly debated. Since most dyslexic children have problems in sound recognition, treatments have mainly focused on phonological aspects, with contrasting results.

    New synergies between education and cognitive science have been established in the past 10 years in different areas, including reading difficulties. A growing number of studies have correlated dyslexia and visual attention, and some experiments have been conducted in Europe suggesting that children’s reading abilities improve when their visual attention is trained.

    Pier's research at the University of Sydney has involved working with about 40 children, using games with different features. The data collected suggests that different types of video games train visual attention in different ways, with different consequences on reading outcomes. Dr Trevisan will present the methodologies, findings and limits of his research, together with discussion for further investigations in the future.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 6 April 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here

    Join us on April 13 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "The enactive roots of learning: rethinking educational design" with Professor Daniel D. Hutto.

    New and radically reformative thinking about the enactive and embodied basis of cognition holds out the promise of moving forward debates about whether we learn and how we learn. The radical enactive, embodied view of cognition (REC) poses a direct, and unmitigated, challenge to the trademark assumptions of traditional cognitivist theories of mind: theories that characterise cognition as always and everywhere grounded in the manipulation of contentful representations of some kind. REC has had some success in understanding how sports skills and expertise are acquired. But it might be thought that REC-based approaches encounter a natural obstacle when in trying to understand and explain skill acquisition in knowledge-rich conceptually-based domains such as hard sciences and mathematics.

    This presentation offers a proof of concept that REC’s reach can be usefully extended even into the domain of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning, especially when it comes to understanding the deep roots of such learning. Drawing on some exciting new empirical studies how REC can contribute to understanding the roots even of STEM learning and inform its learning design.

    Daniel D. Hutto is Professor of Philosophical Psychology at the University of Wollongong and member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts. The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 13 April 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here

    On March 4th Professor George Siemens presented a lecture with LARG and Sydney Ideas; "Neuroscience and Learning Analytics: A historic leap in understanding learning?". If you weren’t able to make it, or are interested to hear it again, the audio and slides are now available at http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/analytics/sydney-larg.htm.

    There’s also a set of introductory 'LARG news' slides from the day where you can find out more about current learning analytics initiatives and opportunities at Sydney.

    For more information on Sydney Learning Analytics Research Group (LARG) see their website at http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/analytics/sydney-larg.htm or follow them on Twitter @sydneyanalytics.

    Our Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar series restart next week when Dr Christine Preston presents "Toys for learning and teaching science".

    Preston267.jpg

    Toys are widely recognised as being highly engaging to children, but formal research into the use of toys to support learning in primary science and learning how to teach primary science is sparse. This presentation provides an overview of pilot studies conducted by honours students in the faculty, as well as a summary of toy use in the Master of Teaching program with preservice teachers. Topics include primary-students' responses when their toys incorporate discrepant events, and how musical toys change young children’s explanations about sound. The qualitative research included individual interviews with primary students using think-aloud data collection techniques. Preliminary findings will be discussed along with the potential for further research in this area.

    Dr Christine Preston has a unique teaching background, having taught science in NSW schools at both the secondary and primary level. She has experience as a teacher-education lecturer in science for early childhood, primary and secondary settings. Her current research interests are primary children’s interpretation of scientific diagrams, teaching science using toys, early-childhood science and teaching science education in higher education.

    The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 23 Mar 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here

    LARG.jpg The Sydney Learning Analytics Research Group is excited to offer two conference travel grants of $3,500 each - the first to attend the 2016 Educational Data Mining (EDM) Conference, and the second to attend the 2017 Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference. The call for applications for the 2016 EDM Conference is now open, with the 2017 LAK Conference call to be announced at a later date.

    Applicants must have a submission (of any type) accepted for presentation at EDM 2016, and be either a current staff member or current student of the University of Sydney. The call for submissions for EDM is now open - there are several deadlines, the last of which is 2 April 2016. For more information see the Sydney Learning Analytics Research Group (LARG) website.

    LARG is a joint venture of the newly established Quality and Analytics Group within the Education Portfolio, and the new Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation at to the Faculty of Education and Social Work. The key purposes in establishing the new research group are: Capacity building in learning analytics for the benefit of the institution, its students and staff; to generate interest and expertise in learning analytics at the University, and build a new network of research colleagues; and to build a profile for the University of Sydney as a national and international leader in learning analytics.

    Join us on Tuesdays 23rd February for a special Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation seminar with Dr Antonia Scholkmann, "The assessment of teacher supportive behaviour in open phases of school lessons by means of video analysis – new approaches and findings from Hamburg University".

    Scholkmann_267.jpgVideo analysis has previously shown its potential to shed light on learning processes in naturalistic and especially in open phases of instruction (Knigge, Siemon, Nordstrand, & Stolp, 2013). In its current research, the team of Professor Jens Siemon at Universität Hamburg seeks to assess teachers’ supportive activities in the naturalistic setting of the classroom, and describe every supportive event in a way in which micro-activities (on both the teacher’s and on the student’s side) and process characteristics are adequately considered. For this purpose, existing approaches (van de Pol & Elbers, 2013; Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976) were extended with the video-based recording and assessment procedure MuVA (Siemon, Boom, & Scholkmann, 2015) and the new video analysis software Interact (cf. Mangold, 2006).

    In her presentation Dr. Scholkmann, Senior Researcher on the team of Professor Dr. Jens Siemon, Universität Hamburg, will elaborate on the potential of these approaches for analysis of teacher supportive behaviour. She will show both examples of the current material and first results on the amount, quality, micro activities and process characteristics of teachers’ supportive behaviours inferred from their dataset.

    Event details
    • When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 23 Feb 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring food and drink.
    • Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
    • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
    • More information here

    I predict that we will see a kind of semiotic turn in CSCL, with a focus on materiality; a rising interest in the kind of notional and representational systems that are used when people collaborate in particular practice fields. Semiotics is the study of sign systems, their symbolic as well as physical qualities (Eco, 1979).  While there was a certain interest in the first phase of CSCL--the discussions forums, online forums--in semiotic aspects of collaboration, those first generation semiotic devices were designed for the purpose of asynchronous communication and exchange (‘discussion forum’, ‘thread’). They were not so much informed by people's practices and activities. In more recent years, we've seen a continued interest in these systems, and a surging interest in talk, in synchronous communication. A particularly active area that yielded numerous ideas for representational notations as been research on computer-supported argumentation (Noroozi, Weinberger, Biemans, Mulder, & Chizari, 2012).

    The new semiotic turn should focus on artifacts that are representative of people's practices, rather than artifacts designed specifically for the purposes of communication and learning. For instance, the blueprints that building engineers and architects use, the symbol system that musicians use, the specialized document types and codes medical practitioners use. There has been more interest on practice-related notations and artifacts in CSCW than in CSCL (e.g., Turner, Bowker, Gasser, & Zacklad, 2006), and still comparatively little work in CSCL that engages with authentic artifacts and their role in collaboration and learning. 

    As an example for what CSCL research with a semiotic perspective could look like, think of Dan Suther's early work on the guidance function of specific notional systems (e.g., Suthers & Hundhausen, 2003), but now with a focus on notations and artifacts that have a more discipline/profession-specific grounding and are more practice-based. 

    I can see a number of benefits of the ‘new semiotic turn’: For instance, content would become more important again; we are currently perhaps too much focused on the analysis of the collaboration process (Reimann & Yacef, 2013). But without a concern for content, process remains hard to understand.  Another benefit would be the development of stronger ties between CSCL and CSCW. Thirdly, CSCL would become more relevant for vocational and professional learning because we would now be studying and supporting collaborative learning around a range of artefacts much wider than dedicated ‘knowledge’ artifacts such as concept maps and math equations. Furthermore, a semiotic perspective on collaboration could contribute to HCI research (de Souza, 2005) and to the development of task-related applications that support learning in (collaborative) practice, in addition to getting a task done (solving a problem). 

    A question I want to raise is what the reasons might be that practice-related artefacts play still such a little role in CSCL. Why are they left behind?  Maybe it is because they require specialized knowledge, and most of CSCL researchers are not at the same time engineers, doctors, musicians, accountants? Maybe it is because these kind of artefacts are difficult to analyze computationally? Maybe it is because we still make a strong distinction between learning and work, at least in K-12, arguably even in studies that take place in the tertiary sector? 


    References: 
    de Souza, C.S. (2005). The semiotic engineering of human-computer interaction. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Eco, U. (1979). A theory of semiotics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

    Noroozi, O., Weinberger, A., Biemans, H., Mulder, M., & Chizari, M. (2012). Argumentation-Based Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (ABCSCL): A synthesis of 15 years of research. Educational Research Review, 7, 79-106.

    Reimann, P., & Yacef, K. (2013). Using process mining for understanding learning. In R. Luckin, S. Puntambekar, P. Goodyear, B. Grabowski, J. D. M. Underwood & N. Winters (Eds.), Handbook of design in educational technology (pp. 472-481). New York: Taylor & Francis.

    Suthers, D.D., & Hundhausen, C.D. (2003). An experimental study of the effects of representational guidance on collaborative learning processes. The Journal of the Learnign Sciences, 12(2), 183-218.T

    urner, William, Bowker, Geoffrey, Gasser, Les, & Zacklad, Manuel. (2006). Information Infrastructures for Distributed Collective Practices. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 15, 93-110.

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    About Us

    The Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) aims to provide a focus for the university’s research on learning and innovation. Formed from CoCo and the STL research network, we have strong roots in Education, with substantial involvement from Engineering & IT, Science, Health Sciences and Medicine.

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