Chapter 6 really made me think about the concept of Online Collaborative Learning, in the sense that, much like the traditional education system, it involved a single teacher to many student model. Knowledge Age is defined in the book as requiring knowledge advancement through socio-economic transformation in today’s society. What is interesting here to me, is while we as students of today assume that the Knowledge Age requires the creation of knowledge through community and globalized systems of learning, and yet the school system in which we learn does not reflect that, and online learning, collaborative or not, in my opinion, does not necessarily help facilitate that type of education. Knowledge is dynamic and evolving, it does not stay the same, even in subjects such as mathematic or science. Since knowledge itself is so fluid, it must be right to assume that learning is neither this as well. In this way, while online collaborative learning is a step in the right directions, I believe that it is still based on the education model we all have, even if studies have shown that is surpasses face-to-face learning. I think that this is completely subjective because everything learns differently. I, personally, do not like learning online through any method, I am a face-to-face learning; alternatively, I do not agree with the model of one teacher to many students because I do not think that is personal enough for me to learn in, since I went to an alternative school where community learning over multiple ages was encouraged.
Learning Theory and Online Technologies states that there are three distinct models of online learning: Online Collaborative Learning, Online Distance Education, and Online Coursewear, where OLC uses a teacher model, ODE uses correspondents and OC is based on individual learning through courseware materials. While OCL seems to me to bet he most beneficial in group learning, for the model is based on working together online to advance new understandings of topics and focuses, I still do not think this is beneficial for everyone. I feel no attachment to my group work unless I am working with a group face to face, and while many may appreciate this method of learning I feel like certain aspects need to be changed in the model of OCLs. For example, since different people learn differently, I believe it is necessary to have different ways to take the course (ie: if certain people do not take tests well, then they should have the option of taking the course in a more final paper model, or if people are not comfortable writing on certain topics, then a group or singular project could be their determining grade); also, I believe that the course should facilitate people getting together outside of the web in order to correspond in person if they so feel necessary; alternatively, I think it should also be allowed that students do everything on their own if that is what they feel comfortable doing. Knowledge-building is threefold: a commitment to progress, a commitment to seek common understanding, and a commitment to expand the base of accepted facts. These three aspects can be interpreted different ways by different types of learners, and that is why I think that while online education is the way of the future, collaborative learning should begin in schools, something that is already established in the way that is runs, and be progressed there first, prior to closing down schools and expecting this system to work. There are many different things to take into account, especially with the changing world of media.
Chapter 6 focuses specifically on Online Collaborative Learning. Because the idea of OCL is still relatively new, there is a need to set up a theoretical framework to work off from. Online distance education has been around since the 19th century but the idea of knowledge building and collaborative learning has just begun. The difference between the two lies in the way information is delivered or taught to the students. ODE and OC stresses on the transmission of knowledge and refers “instructional” technologies. OCL works on building and developing our knowledge society as the professor acts as a mediator and applies a more “conversational” model of teaching.
I personally think that there is a future for OCL and platforms such as forums, chats and blogs that will help facilitate OCL. Social networking sites may be helpful because it encourages discussion between individuals and allows for instant conversation and feedback. The textbook highlights three OCL processes including, idea generating, idea organizing, and intellectual convergence. Although all three of these processes are essential to the learning process, I find that the idea organizing stage interesting. I think that the collection and organization of ideas are important and that this is what transforms information to knowledge. The convergences of these ideas are significant as this builds upon our knowledge society and advances our knowledge community. I am curious to see what OCL will lead to and whether OCL will be increasingly accepted by academic leaders.
Chapter 6 introduced online collaborative learning theory. It is really a very interesting theory for me and it is relatively new. Compared with traditional information transmission model, it focuses on divergent thinking and knowledge building. Actually, in China we still use traditional education model (at least for my generation). We were told by teachers what are right and what are wrong. Tradition model is really focus on simply information transmission. I cannot tell which one is better. We can remember many knowledge through traditional education. when I was in schools in China, I always felt confused that all the knowledge we learned can be easily found on the internet and why we should memorize them. Most of the knowledge we learned is useless in daily life, especially advanced mathematics.
OCL focuses on divergent thinking and knowledge building what I think are more important for students. In China many scholars think that we need to change our education model. They think we need to use some models like OCL to encourage students to divergent thinking. Indeed, in China students educated by information transmission model have very strong knowledge foundation but they are short of creativity. Students are used to memorizing what teachers said and seldom practice divergent thinking and knowledge building. For me I prefer OCL. In Knowledge Society divergent thinking and knowledge building are much more important than memorizing knowledge.
I grew up in the shadow of the Catholic Church. Their teaching methods were simple. You listen, they talk. No exceptions. The priests, nuns and teachers were always right and you learnt to respect their word. No one ever questioned this traditional model, no one ever thought it could be anything else. You’re taught as a child that you listen to your elders; consequently, this doesn’t exactly facilitate divergent thinking and knowledge building. By the time you enter University, you’re expected to break free from this conventional model and think for yourself, interact with peers and build knowledge together, instead of memorizing mundane facts for exams. Public and Private schools are similar in that they place high emphasis on exams and individual projects; however, this does nothing to stimulate the mind. Online Collaborative Learning is the answer. Our education model needs to change, and it needs to change quickly. Personally, I think there is a real place in our Canadian education system for OCL. The tools are right in front of us, why aren’t our governments utilizing them? Perhaps it is fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear that is might not work? As mentioned in the readings, Learning Theory and Online Technologies state the three models of OL (OCL, ODE, OC) are proved effective. This isn’t a new concept to students or teachers.
In Chapter 6, Linda elaborates on how knowledge building possess three commitments: A commitment to seek common understanding, commitment to progress, and a commitment to expand the base of accepted facts. Students all learn in different and unique ways. Our current cookie cutter system doesn’t take into account that the world is changing, its evolving. Everyday there are new methods and formulas to challenge our parents generation and their preconceived notions of education. OCL deserves a real chance to prove itself effective. The majority of governments, parents and even the public to a certain extent are running scared. The academics of the world who believe in the legitimacy and effectiveness of OCL need to make more of a concerted, united effort to ratify current methods and ideologies.
Chapter 6 provides a detailed foundation on which one can begin to structure and put into perspective the history and purpose on online collaborative learning. Although I found the indirect placing of OCL in a binary relationship with twentieth century learning theories helpful and essential to emphasize the knowledge building and collaborative nature of OCL, it is also important to not so abruptly discard the value of twentieth century didactic forms of learning. Sophia and Qingyang both mention very important points in their responses. Sophia pointing out that despite all the attributes that OCL offers with place-independence, time independence, many-to-many communication, there is still something significant and valuable about face-to-face communication with fellow learners or knowledge community members. Qingyang writes that in China, which has an approximate population of 1.35 billion people, are still using traditional didactic learning theories which raised a question, although the global nature of the internet is highlighted as an attribute of OCL, how plausible is this notion? How does a Mandarin speaking and writing student from China “knowledge build” with an student English speaking and writing from Canada over the internet? I guess the help of internet translators would be an option but how viable is that? Although I do see the need and importance of a new learning theory that caters to this new tech-savvy Net Gen and knowledge society there are still some questions that need to be explored.
In chapter 6, we are introduced to OCL as being a tool for pedagogical design and in this way possibly a very good instrument for tackling technological advances of the 21st century. As I am diving deeper into the historical framework of online collaborative learning, I am slowly realizing that new theories of online learning are very necessary in order to adapt to changing times and most importantly changing individuals/students. However, I feel that what OCL stands for something for something current methods of education lack; the notion of authority of knowledge. What I mean by that is that current methods of teaching i.e. lectures portray the professor as the master of knowledge whom we must prove ourselves to on our ability to spit back the knowledge that was instilled in us. Online collaborative learning pushes down this barrier by making knowledge something which students and teachers can collaboratively build. Although not a perfect method, OCL accounts for different types of learners and allows students to demonstrate, comprehend, progress in their own unique way. In important aspect, although I am unaware if it was raised within the chapter, is that OCL allows for students to be in their own personal space when learning. This is a space which is their own and allows them to feel comfortable to exchange something that a normal classroom setting would otherwise inhibit. This can be further exemplified through OCL’s characteristic trait of being a time-independent discourse medium where students have time to formulate ideas on their own watch. However, the one many method does not allow for enough intimacy between students and their teachers, a relationship which I feel is crucial in order to progress knowledge. As much as we want to shift the power status of teachers, we cannot omit the fact that teachers are more “knowledgeable” than us in certain subjects. Letting them completely/ semi-completely fall to the background of a discussion by only feeling their presence through a posted forum is surely not enough…?
While reading chapter 6 I began to think how different my education would have been if the OCL had been the main way i was taught. I feel I would have done a lot better and others would have excelled as well. The three intellectual phases I found to be very interesting. Idea Generating is extremely important and helps to let every persons’ idea through. It is what we need more of in classes so we challenge what we are being taught and bring forth new ideas. The next phases are are where the ideas get narrowed down and everyone collaborates and makes the ideas better. Through these three phases, I believe OCL would have greatly helped me to learn and to enjoy learning way more than I do now. My learning style is not to be lectured at for hours. This is true for many other students and yet we still continue to do so. OCL should be apart of our learning.
These three stages I believe should be in every class so that we don’t have cookie cutter students that have learned what they are told and haven’t challenged and created new ideas. Having new technology that is immersed in our learning will help to make OCL possible and will also make it a more attractive teaching way that will benefit not only the students but the teachers as well.
This chapter’s main focus was on online collaborative learning. What I found most interesting about this chapter was the online collaborative learning processes. How knowledge building is created through three intellectual phases beginning with Idea Generating, Idea Organizing and Intellectual Convergence. In the first phase, Idea generating refers to brain storming within a group. In the second phase, Idea organizing the group then discuss the ideas they had generated in the idea generating stage to agree, disagree or question those ideas further. In the final stage of Intellectual convergence there is a construction of shared knowledge and understanding. In this final stage a conclusion is reached by the participants. The thing I find most interesting with this method of collaborative learning is information is left out as the ideas progress from the first phase to the last allowing for the participants in the group to come to a final conclusion. This chapter mostly promotes collaborative learning but Susan Cain a New York Times bestseller not too long ago published a book called “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”. In the book she argues that the western culture undervalues the capabilities of introverted people that collaboration is not always the best form of creating new knowledge. She did TED talk as well here is the link
I have mostly “devil’s advocate” responses to Chapter 6.
First, as a practical matter I have a lot of trouble simply imagining an online learning environment. The discussion of notes and scaffolds and tools in separate virtual spaces doesn’t yet gel for me into something I can see. ( I know, next chapter right? ) Perhaps its a failure of imagination on my part. This is a minor concern.
I have done some online “co-operative learning” ( in CMNS 362, a group of three of us contributed three somewhat independent pieces to a group project ) and we relied on several f2f sessions and more Skype sessions. I am wondering how online collaborative learning will work without at least some f2f meetings. I know that in most f2f situations most of us most of the time rely on subtle non-verbal clues, including audio clues in terms of tone or volume of voice etc. How will we learn collaboratively without these clues in a virtual environment?
A related issues is the mindset I imagine is necessary to make collaborative learning work. Students may all have “commitments” to progress, to seek common understanding and to expand the base of accepted facts but what about years of socialization to compete and excel individually?
I’m looking forward to seeing how this will work.
The invention of the internet has obviously introduced a paradigmatic shift, especially bringing profound implications and opportunities for new ways of learning. OCL or online collaborative learning is an educational platform which emphasizes collaborative online discourse through engagement, group discussion, debates and problem-solving activities. There are three phases of discourse for knowledge construction. These include idea generating, idea organizing and intellectual convergence. These three elements represent the progression of learning. Idea generating is the first phase which includes brainstorming for information in order to learn about various perspectives to build a diverse set of ideas. The second phase is idea organizing which shows intellectual progress through clarifying and organizing all the information gathered from phase one. By recognizing all the perspectives and clarifying or questioning them, we start to identify the relationship and similarities. The last phase is intellectual convergence which is idea structuring through converging all perspectives and understanding both sides. Intellectual synthesis is reached through finding a conclusion or solution through shared understanding. What this leads to is ultimately knowledge building and social application. This is a continual process.
I think that OCL aides in this process because of the encouraged debate and discussion. Users can see both sides of the argument and generate their own stance through educated and informed idea organizing to reach intellectual convergence. The role of the teacher or moderator in the case of OCL is to mediate between the students and facilitate the collaboration during this knowledge building process. I do think that OCL is effective as a learning tool or environment because of this encouraged and open discussion whereas in an in-person setting, some students may be shy in class or others may take over discussion. As long as both the students and moderator consistently participates and reflects on each other’s ideas, the pedagogy will remain effective. In class discussion sometimes requires students to raise their hands or teachers may openly ask students to participate, however in the online environment discussion, engagement and quality of learning is fully up to the students.
I have to admit that after reading about OLC’s I feel that my University career may have looked much smoother with higher grades. I do not necessarily feel that it would be like that for everyone, but my best avenue to learning is by working in teams and discussing issues at hand. Where all the students come together and work out the problems, much like how it is in the real world. Rather than having to memorize a text book written by someone I’ll never meet and regurgitate their information onto an examination against all of my fellow classmates, the very people I will eventually be working with once we enter the real world. So why are we being forced to work opposite one another when University is suppose to prep us for the real world and bring us together to discuss, debate and unite. This notion of idea generating is something that to most University students sounds daunting, because they expect that is needs to be done on an individual basis.
People worry with group work because they feel that someone will be left out, or will not contribute as equally as others, but the OLC format does not allow those people to slide by so easily. With having to register and login prior to submissions (which are for grades) every student is accountable for their own academic destiny, in a way. Also, by submitting the information or personal insight over a computer, allows for those who are shy or unable to speak the language a chance to chyme in without feeling the insecurities of others starring, judging or singling them out.
The 3 commitments in knowledge building that Linda touches on in chapter 6; “a commitment to seek common understanding, commitment to progress, and a commitment to expand the base of accepted facts.” Are all ways that help with the group generated ideas, because it is hard to find an understanding when everyone has their own opinions and is being graded on those solely.
I find that most people I know acknowledge and understand that we live in a knowledge society, where if they were presented with the concept of OCL, they would understand the benefits it provides over the traditional classroom. One thing I don’t understand is why OCL isn’t a part of every class that we take at SFU. If we live in a knowledge economy, it only makes sense that universities teach students how to collaborate, be creative, and to understand the OCL process (Idea generating to idea organizing to intellectual convergence). The OCL process teaches students skills that is necessary for us to be competent in the workforce. It teaches us divergent thinking within a group, how to engage and share ideas, how to recognize multiple perspectives and identifying how they relate to each other, idea structuring through gradual convergence, and ultimately learn how to create theories, ideas, a design, etc. The skills learned through the OCL process is important for our generation entering the work force, and it is a shame that there is not a bigger emphasis on this process in higher education.
After reviewing the three different models for online learning: Online Collaborative Learning (OCL), Online Distance Education (ODE), and Online Courseware (OC), I reflected on my own experience with each. As mentioned in the chapter, each method uses the Internet and the Web in delivering education, but each does so in a different way. Most of my experience lies in ODE (and of course OC), and in the past, has involved very little collaborative learning. From time to time, I would have to submit answers to other people’s discussions and vice versa, but I feel that those courses did not touch on the root of collaborative learning, mostly calling for individual reflection. As many of you, I’m used to learning individually and coming to my own conclusions. However, I find I learn best in a group where I can bounce ideas off of others and brainstorm in order to come to conclusions about any topic. I find it harder to collaborate online, as I need the Face to Face element that Julius mentioned above. Sometimes, you just need verbal cues in order to truly understand someone’s perspective. Perhaps, then, our methods of communication will have to evolve in order to properly convey our opinions online. Think about a time you read a text message or an email that you interpreted in a negative way, that may not have been written with that intention. When you read the word “Hello” it’s pretty simple what’s being communicated, but think of all the ways you can actually say that word: sarcastically, cheerily, negatively, it goes on. Perhaps, OCL can incorporate Skype sessions, etc. as Julius suggestions, in order to bridge the gap between traditional face to face learning and digital Online Collaborative Learning.
The models for online learning provide a framework within which to learn, and each provides a different system. We all learn in different ways. Personally, I learn through reading and processing my thoughts on my own and having a way to share them with a group in order to compare viewpoints. The manner in which this is done is not important to me.
As long as online collaboration provides a way for me to make thoughtful responses, I find it beneficial, perhaps even more so than traditional classroom time. During class I tend to let the more extroverted share their opinions at length. I take more time to come to my conclusions and therefore do not need to espouse it all verbally.
Chapter 6: OCL Theory was very enlightening for me as it showed me and clarified what the subtle difference “online collaboration” and “online discourse” are. “Online collaboration” tools and platforms may encourage the presentation of a certain notion, theory and idea that was reached by a certain amount of people, but “online discourse is about the tools and platforms that make the deepening and interaction of knowledge possible. It’s one thing to copy and paste from Wikipedia, but having a forum, or various platforms that encourage “online discourse” is another thing completely. As a knowledge-based society we owe it to future bright minds and ourselves that though the Internet is great with collaboration, it’s when you have discourse with others that truly make us knowledgeable. I enjoyed J.Gage’s emphasis on the importance of writing in the construction of discourse on page 105.
In retrospect, I find myself playing devil’s advocate while reading of online discourse and collaboration. These statements written by scholars who are not Net Gen and seem to come up with these theories of constructs seem to me, to be similar to the invention of fencing. Why create a physical fence in a non-physical landscape of knowledge? It seems ironic that these scholars and academics feel the need to explore collaboration and discourse online, when the majority of those who participate in them decide the overall impact. The Internet is an organic place that can’t be fenced and interactions may surprise you. For example, this week in October 1, 2012, a Kickstarter campaign of a “crowd source” expert who started a Kickstarter campaign for a book on how to reach your kickstarter goal failed miserably. Please read an article about it
I find it ironic that we are having a discussion on this “wiki” which is basically a blog Comment system in which the book argues does not promote discussion
The idea of OCL is pretty neat and I agree with many of the opinions on this board – it should be implemented in many more courses at SFU. Personally I haven’t had much experience with it, though I’ve had my fair share of OC and I think it worked really well for me. Being able to learn on my own time and in my own space was a huge help, given that classroom schedules don’t always work with my personal schedule.
But what was of particular interest to me were the three phases of knowledge building – idea generating, idea organizing, and intellectual convergence. While it’s pretty simple to understand, it’s something I never really considered before. And I feel that if most collaborative assignments followed this idea of creating meaningful discourse in a virtual setting, a lot of ‘junk’ would get sifted out much faster.
As OCL begins to gain momentum I feel that the gap between face to face and online collaborative learning will begin to close. Every technology obviously has to pay its dues before it becomes widely adopted. So if technology follows history (which I think it does), Skype sessions, and interactive websites will begin to become part of the learning curriculum.
Julius, it’s just a matter of time!
Chapter 6 focused on explaining Online Collaborative Learning. It seems as though this direction in learning is seen to be the future of schooling. I, myself, am still pretty skeptical with how the whole pedagogical learning works. Although distance education has been around for a hundred years, I have experienced it myself until I have stepped through the doors of Simon Fraser. The learning experience is very different from the face to face interaction that I’ve had with many teachers while growing up. Because of how I was used to learning, I had a hard time adjusting to learning through a computer screen as opposed to a professor standing in front of a class spitting out information. Learning in front of a computer screen did not overall help me even understand the basic rules of knowledge within this course. Everything was laid out in such a way that it all seemed trivial to me.
What really interested me, however, with OCL is the three phases of knowledge building: idea generating, idea organizing, and intellectual convergence. These three phases actually aim to build knowledge as opposed to simply displaying information for students to catch on. Actual collaboration towards knowledge building happens therefore useful information is sifted through. OCL is merely a new theoretical framework with improvements still inevitable to happen. I know that one day, OCL will develop in such a way that it replace the most of knowledge building institutions.
Chapter 6 introduces the Online Collaborative Learning Theory, and the distinctions between its three intellectual phases that contribute to the building of knowledge. Groups begin by Idea Generating, where ideas are brainstrormed and there is a large and diverse set of ideas and perspectives. This is our stage of divergent thinking. We then move onto Idea Organizating, a convergence of our ideas where we result in a few strong ideas. The last phase is Intellectual Convergence which reflects our shared understanding. Harasim references a common statement, “agree to disagree” which is still considered a convergence of our shared understanding of ideas.
What I found most interesting was Harasim’s definition of “collaboration and discourse (as) key to building knowledge, an endless human conversation of changing and improving ideas” (p. 90). This infers a necessary “progress” in knowledge building. Interestingly, however, one section of the chapter contradicts this statment: Page 92 proposes criteria for knowledge-building discourse in the classroom including, “a commitment to progress, something that does not characterize dinner party conversation or discussions devoted to sharing information and venting opinions.” I find this interesting and contradictory because I believe “dinner party conversations” and “venting opinions” are often a good starting point to many of the ideas in knowledge building… its still part of the process to progress.
This chapter also highlights a differentiation between OCL and other online learning strategies. Harasim notes that its important for educators to understand the differences between these strategies (not to mistake the less progressive strategies for the more collabortative strategies), as to ensure our education society is going in the right direction. A key indication our changing education system.
Since I still don’t have the book (got a call that it is there today) I can only extrapolate from the comments about what this chapter is about. While not online, many of my studies at Emily Carr could have been considered collaborative learning, we were often working through projects in groups and many times figuring out the technicalities, teaching each other from what we knew, and drawing off our own strengths and differences. I find this type of learning changes the focus from being a passive listener, sitting in a lecture room, to becoming an active participant.
By bringing collaborative learning online it holds great potential, especially when dealing with courses that are shared between institutions. There could be a great deal to be learned by working with others across geographical lines. I’ve found that structured collaborative learning also has the ability to acknowledge the personal experience of those involved in the process.
this reply might be a tiny bit late but I couldn’t get the comment up last time!
Now that the midterm has passed I can really say I’ve fully immersed myself in the online collaborative learning theory.
Prior to the Knowledge Age (and still to some extent today), humanity had been stuck in didactic methods of teaching where the focus was put on the learner’s ability to retain content and answer based on the concept of right and wrong. The epistimology the 19-20th century had been based on could be said to have been: objectivist. Knowledge was based on absolute and finite truths and could even be linked to divine roots.
However, a huge paradigm shift occured in the 21st century with the advent of the internet. This paradigm shift emphasized knowledge building as a key focus for education. There was a strong need for learning theories that adressed changing times and also for a way to solve and understand problems within societial frameworks. Increasingly, people became invested in mental labor which required them to collaboratively share information among groups to perform tasks. People had to take what history had provided over the years and come up with better ways to adress issues. For the first time, it became increasingly important to come together to find the best option.
OCL provided a new theory of learning which adressed this incline towards collaboration when it came to knowledge. For the first time, there was an active effort towards making learning an interactive activity. This sprang from the early ancestor of the internet; Aparnet. This system allowed professors to present electronic mail and computer conferencing to students in order to enhance face-to-face interactions and made classroom settings more efficient.
What I feel really pushed OCL into how we perceive it today and most closely resembles it is Lickliders vision of the computer to support group discussion.
Extracting from a quote that stuck out for me as cited in this chapter, “This is the first generation to grow up in the digital age, and that makes them a force for collaboration […] these youngsters are growing up interacting.” (Tapscott & Williams, 2006, p. 47)
Probably dating back to my first year of high school, that was when I began to be tasked with group projects. Fast forward to the present time, and it’s pretty hard to find a class (at least within the communications department) that does not have one or many group projects included in its curriculum. It’s all about team work, at least more so now than before. With each paradigm shift, more and more opportunities are opened up to encourage and promote group and team endeavours, especially with online groupware and other software/tools tailored to help make collaborating online more conducive in this day and age.
I believe that the comprehension of this chapter resides within the following quote: “the conundrum for educators is that online education has been poorly defined and theorized, with little explication of which pedagogies, approaches, tools and environments should be used, under what conditions, for the best results” (p. 87).
One of the most seemingly common problems that promotes a certain anti-constructionist culture within our society is the semantics of language. When people discuss the advantages or disadvantages of certain learning theories, there is often no resemblance between participants on the definitions of these theories, nor the definition of education in general. This creates an argumentative culture where one simply argues to prove a point rather than establish any sort of advancement for knowledge’s sake. In other words, there is an elimination of dialogue, which as this chapter notes, is so instrumental in the creation of knowledge.
Due to the importance which dialogue plays within collaborative learning – one cannot go from idea generating, to organizing, to intellectual convergence without participating in some aspect of it – it is only logical to acknowledge that one cannot promote this theory of learning without engaging within the semantics of itself. This is what Chapter Six aims to do. That is, by partitioning the almost interchangeably-discussed concepts online education (Online Collaborative Learning, Online Distance Education, and Online Courseware), online collaborative learning theory addresses a dire need to distinguish itself from totally separate entities. How can one be a supporter of OCL theory if they presume a resemblance between that and Online Courseware? They can’t, nor can they engage in any proper discussion on the topic.
Chapter 6 was very interesting for me, because I think it covers the topics that Linda discusses in class with us most of the time. Ourdays online learning became very popular, wih the technological advantages we have more access to online resources and this helps us to gain more knowledge. Chapter 6 looks at definition of online collaborative learning (OCL), also at history of it and the context. In order to gain the knowledge people need to exchange information, ideas, and their opinions. In chapters 1 and 2, Linda talked that collaborative learning is important in order for people to gain the knowledge. The chapter discusses how internet actually helps people to shape knowledge by the means of online collaboration. In first part of chapter 6 on context and history of online learning I found many interesting things for myself. Online learning can be traced to the late 1970th and early 1980th. As LInda writes at chapter 6 “” At elast three distinct models have been commonly summed under the title of “online learning”: online collaborative learning, onine distance education, online courseware.”” (p.87) All of them are similar in their discourse, because 3 of them are online sources for knowledge and learning. So collaboration learning not only opened new doors to knowledge but also made it interactive for students to gain that knowledge. Group discussions, chatting, all allowed students to stay connected 24/7 and share information and their ideas which in this case promoted the transfer of knowledge.
The first thing in this chapter I want to comment on is the revolutionary transformation on the essence and value of education due to the rapid development of online technologies since middle 20th century, in which this chapter points out that the education epistemology has been accordingly shifted from objectivism that features knowledge and truth as objections for human beings to discover and to find, to constructivism that features knowledge as “dynamic and evolving rather than finite and immutable”, which driven by internet based technologies. More importantly, it is believed that the conventional pattern of learning and instruction such as “face to face” and “know to do” are no longer accord with the constantly changing world and the reconstruction of knowledge society in information age. In other words, as Carl Bereiter and Lindsay Harrism raised from the concept of “knowledge building”, human being is facing a significant shift from an age that based on discovering, finding and passing on knowledge passively, to a brand new knowledge age that emphasizes more on the significance of generating, improving and recreating and reshaping knowledge, and highly values the significant role of human collaboration and interaction in its brand new knowledge building process. As a matter of fact, the rapid development of Internet technologies, and the openness and free accessibility that network environment features actually provide us a reliable technical support to practice this online collaborative learning system.
Chapter 6 broadened my knowledge on these three Internet and the Web based education system – the OCL, ODE and OC. Before I read the chapter, I simply considered them as similar online educations. But in fact, they are different in significant ways. Before we jump into the systematic analysis of online education, we need to justify the differences between these three process, otherwise, we will be confusing ourselves all the time. My question at this point is ‘Which one will be the most suitable one for future education?’ In the chapter, it is the OCL because it perfectly combines collaborative learning with Internet. Unlike ODE and OC, students can also learn from their peers (on matter who this person is and where this person is). It expands the students’ learning opportunities.
Another question that I’ve been thinking for the chapter is the question that I have for chapter 2. It seems like OCL will be the future of our learning process. It also brings challenges to traditional learning institutions, such as school. Online education means students are able to study at their private time, instead of going to school as scheduled, they are able to study at any time. This can also be linked to the question that Linda has proposed at lecture: who owns the future? Who will be in charge of learning process in the future, the human beings or the artificial intelligence? If traditional learning institutions need to survive in the digital era, they need to find a better way to merge with the development of online education. For instance, the study model in CMNS 453 can be used as a major pattern for school to deal with both traditional learnings and online learnings. This is an effective way for students to learn from both the professor and their peers. It also provides possibilities for school to adapt to the digital era and newly born knowledge society.
Chapter 6 focuses on online collaborative learning (OCL) and is composed of four main sections: Context of OCL (introduces context, history and major definitions of online learning); OCL Theory (OCL processes which use a theoretical framework to guide learning in today’s “Knowledge Age” being that the key to OCL is collaborative discourse and knowledge building); OCL Pedagogy (three phases of collaborative discourse are discussed in relation to online pedagogies that facilitate knowledge building in educational settings); and, OCL Technology (focuses on OCL tools and environments including: place0independent discourse; time-independent discourse; many-to-many discourse; text-based discourse; internet-mediated discourse).
As discussed in class, media is a very human characteristic. Three important things that came out of the invention of computers were: networking, communication networks and social media. With these inventions poised the question of the future of education. As we have discussed the last few weeks in class, OCL has evolved to the idea of MOOCS, which is an idea for control and conformity rather than diversity (which is what OCL strives for). The problem with MOOCS is that in order to gain knowledge people need to exchange information, ideas and opinions which is the determining factor of OCL. Being that MOOCS doesn’t promote the transfer or knowledge but rather the accessibility, there is no online collaboration or knowledge building. For OCL to be effective, it needs to have online collaboration –group discussions, message boards, etc. – which gives the users the ability to interact and share with one another, promoting the transfer of knowledge.
The invention and the implementation of the Internet in the classroom has resulted in a paradigmatic shift in learning and education. Chapter 6 focuses on Online Collaborative Learning (OCL), which has become an important component in accumulating opportunities to learn online. Online Collaborative Learning contains unlimited access to resources in order to develop a fundamental learning system of education. The 21st century is enduring educational changes imposed by new computing and communication technologies that have given students a greater opportunity for knowledge building.
Chapter 6 discusses the Online Collaborative Learning Theory described by Harasim (2012) as “a collaborative discourse that supports and advances knowledge-construction activities” (p.81). This refers to going beyond the basic traditional paradigms of face to face classroom tutorials and lectures towards the ability to learn and study and determine their own academic success. The Online Collaborative Learning Theory (OCL) also examines learning pedagogy that is based on the inquiry-based learning including debating and sharing ideas, group work activities and presentations. This use of this form of online learning gives individuals the ability to learn through multiple perspectives and platforms.
The definition of Online Learning contains three distinct models including the title of “Online Learning”, Online Collaborative Learning (OCL, Online Distance Education (ODE) and Online Courseware (OC) (Harasim, 2002). The definitions described in Chapter 6 represent a specific context of learning environments that is self-regulated learning. The foundational implications of Online Learning provide idea generating, organizing and intellectual understanding and construction of shared learning in a knowledge community.
Chapter 6 talks about online collaborative learning and the attempt to get away from traditional learning and looking for a more effective way of teaching. This chapter talks about a couple of different type of online learning including online collaborative learning (OCL), online distance education (ODE) and online courseware (OC). Online distance education is basically the old way of learning but it includes the use of some online tools such as email in order to share the courser material more quickly. Online courseware involves a textbook or course book being available online and having to take a multiple-choice test at the end to see if the knowledge was gained. The author talks about how these forms of learning do not improve upon the 19th century way of learning. Even though these are online, they do not take advantage of the possibilities of online learning. The author informs the reader of the large benefits of online collaborative learning and the importance of collaboration in knowledge building. Instead of being lectured to, OCL can help create an atmosphere of knowledge creation where students can join together in order to share their ideas and opinions. This idea of self regulated learning encourages collaboration which should be the main focus of OCL.
In chapter six, Linda offers a learning theory for the 21st century. Online Collaborative Learning focuses on collaborative knowledge building through the use of the Internet. In this pedagogy, knowledge is viewed as dynamic and evolving, as apposed to finite or absolute. The role of the instructor in this new age of learning is to mediate between the learners and knowledge community. This model of learning runs counter to the 20th century education model, which was based on behaviorist, cognitivist and constructivist theories of learning that emphasized learning individually using didactic pedagogies.
Collaborative learning really began to emerge on the scene in the 1980s with the Net Gen. Rather than being passive recipients of mass culture, the Net Gen spent a lot of their free time searching, reading, authenticating and collaborating. Today there is a gap between how the youth learn in school and how they interact and work outside school hours. For example, most homework is still done individually. Teachers are resisting incorporating alternative pedagogies and act as a critical barrier to widespread adaptation.
While Online learning is still poorly understood, there are three basic models: Online Collaborative Learning (OCL), Online Distance Education (ODE) and Online Courseware (OC). OCL is based on peer discourse and emphasizes collaborative knowledge building. In this pedagogy, students start of by generating ideas. Following this, they organize their pool of ideas, selecting the strongest and weeding out the weaker positions. Eventually intellectual convergence is achieved and there is a shared understanding. The role of the instructor is to structure the discussion and act as a link to the knowledge community. Online collaborative learning environments are place-independent, time-independed, text-based and involve many-to-many discourse. ODE is based on a correspondence education model. It involves learning through email correspondence. The ODE approach reflects an individualistic cognitivist form of learning. OC refers to the use of online courseware. The learner interacts with only the courseware provided. There is no discourse among peers and it is commonly employed in the training sector.
This chapter sheds light on why Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) is important, and what it is, and how it is supposed to be used. Since the Net Generation grew up in the digital age, everything around them have become digitized including their learning environments, but it is still a task to find an efficient and a productive way to help the students learn. There are many types of Online Learning. There is OCL, Online Distance Education (ODE), and Online Courseware (OC). OCL is teachers facilitating a collaborative virtual environment, ODE uses course delivery, and OC is simply individual learning with machine graded tests.
The OCL theory addresses the “needs and opportunities of the Knowledge Age. So instead of the traditional “feeding method” of learning, OCL emphasizes on creating approaches to “enable learners to become knowledge builders” (p. 89). Collaboration and discourse is greatly encouraged in this theory through Idea Generating (IG), Idea Organizing (IO), and Intellectual Convergence (IC). A good OCL environment is described with five attributes: place-independent, time-independent, many-to-many, text-based, and internet-mediated discourse.
Chapter 6, Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) Theory
Chapter 6 discusses a learning theory for the 21st Century and focuses on Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) in which this method of learning concentrates on collaborative knowledge building through the internet. With the invention of computer networking and the importance on collaboration and knowledge building, the 21st century is therefore known as the “knowledge age”. This age “introduces new and unprecedented learning needs and opportunities that will impact how we view and practice learning (page 80).
The Online Collaborative Learning is regarded as a new theory of learning that pays extra attention to collaborative learning, knowledge building, and the internet to reconstruct education for the knowledge age. This pedagogy is seen as knowledge continuing on its path of evolvement, whereas Linda explains in class, it is her job (the professor) to inject information from the knowledge community into the peers within the educational system. Prior to the 21st century, education and information was didactic and the methods of learning for the students have been repeated from its past time, times have now changed! In 2009 US National Online Survey exploring school district use of the internet stated “there is a serious and persistent gap between how the digital youth of today learn in school and how they interact and work outside of school” (page 82).
As stated in Chapter 1, behaviorist, cognitivist, and constructivist learning theories recognize that learning is done via the individual search. The 21st century knowledge Age has created an entire new ideology, where the mind has overcome the physical act; “production today uses far less physical labor; its uses mental labor. The concept of knowledge worker has emerged to reflect the nature of work in today’s world” (page 83). Linda describes the 21st century knowledge age as us “emphasizing creativity, conceptual work where there is no clear right or wrong answer, or where there may be many right answers, requiring the knowledge workers to collaborate to identify or create the best option (page 84). With technological advances in our education system, collaboration is allowed to be achieved through methods not possible in the past.
There are three distinct models which are labeled under the title of “online learning”, they are Online Collaborative Learning (OCL), Online Distance Education (ODE), and Online Courseware (OC), in which each approach utilizes the internet but in different ways to achieve learning. OCL discusses how peers collaborate and build knowledge amongst one another through discussions and debates online, in which they can put their ideas together to come up with a final knowledge understanding. Group learning is encouraged, it is instructor-led, and involves online discourse. Linda talks of the OCL theory in which there are three phases of OCL. Idea generating, where group thinking is encouraged, Idea Organizing, where intellectual progress and convergence is achieved by clarifying the information, and then intellectual convergence, in which the understanding is mutual, shared, and agreed upon. ODE is most similar to the traditional 19th and 20th century education system models, but instead courses and learning can be done through email conversations. OC focuses on courseware which is accessible online and the student does not collaborate with other students around them.
Chapter six takes an in depth look at Online Collaborative Learning, its pedagogical theory, and design. One of the most important aspects of OCL, indeed of any type of learning, is the three phases of idea generating, idea organising, and intellectual convergence.
One aspect of OCL discussed in this chapter that I disagree with is that it is text based discourse. With the internet, we have access to so many different media, why go back to a medium that is as limiting as text? Since the classical era when writing was first invented, students have been learning my listening to teachers and writing down what they say. With text based OCL, we have even removed one of these aspects–the speech. Text is certainly important, and we wouldn’t get very far pedagogically without it, but in my opinion, possibilities for OCL are limitless. Text based learning may work for some students, but the beauty of a method like OCL is its ability to use different media to access different teaching styles for different students. Text is linear, and discourages creative, non-linear thought. The book cites how popular texting is among young people for why text-based learning is of value. In my experience, texting is popular because it’s fast, without unnecessary conversation, and less intrusive. Text is great for quick communication, but not as a learning method. I would be interested in seeing research into the value of text based learning.
Chapter 6 introduces the Online Collaborative Learning Theory (OCL) and how it is important to our knowledge building and collaborative discourse. It also provides a theoretical framework to guide learning theory and practice within the context. From this, three approaches of online learning: Online Collaborative Learning (OCL), Online Distance Education (ODE) and Online Discourse (OC) are presented to talk about how Internet is significant to reshape the formal, nonformal and informal education for Knowledge Age in 21st Century.
In addition, OCL emphasizes on student discourse and collaboration facilitated by the instructor (also the mediator and facilitator). It is the many-to-many model while ODE is one-to-many based on self-study and individualized learning way. For OC, there is no instructor or peer involved. It uses the individualized self-paced pedagogy to interact with the course ware content by the students.
Apart from that, there are three phases of discourse for intellectual change and knowledge creation and they are Idea Generating, Idea Organizing and Intellectual Convergence. It shows how our ideas are formed through the process of debating, brainstorming until we all agree to make a position or a consensus. It is a useful way for us to understand how effectively we can to conduct an online seminar with our group members through collaboration and discussion.
Furthermore, there are five advantages/disadvantages of Social Media Attributes for a Knowledge Society: place-independent, time-independent, many-to-many, text-based, and internet-mediated discourse.
In the 1980s, online education began to develop. The first form of online education is OCL (Online Collaborative Learning). This is asynchronous learning, which means a student-centered teaching method that uses online learning resources to facilitate information sharing outside the constraints of time and place among a network of people. Therefore the main features are: many-to-many, place-independent, net-mediated, instructor-led and online discourse. There are three phases reflecting the processes of social media facilitating OCL as well as knowledge building. The first phase works as brain storming or divergent discussion, which means different people hold different opinions to the same topic. Then they share with each other. That’s how idea generated. In the second phase, student interact with one another. Under the help of moderator, learners began to organize, analyze and filter the range of ideas by saving the good ones and weeding out the week ones. At the end, the knowledge can be obtained through intellectual convergence by coming to position on the topic.
Since 1989, when the Internet was invented to the public, another form of online education appeared: ODE (Online Distance Education), which uses “a correspondence model of course delivery, self-study and individualized communication with a tutor” (p. 87) . This is a one-to-many model, which is more efficient but not effective, because the quality of education is doubtable. There are no direct interactions between students and instructors.
In 1996, the OC (online courseware) appeared. It is based on individualized learning with courseware without instructor or peer interaction. This is a form of AI (Artificial Intelligence). This is a student-to-software model. Students are assessed by courseware. Since 2010, the original MOOCs (Massive open online course) launched in Canada was a not-for-credit community of learning on topics of interest. As many academic institutions such as Stanford joined, the university course MOOC can be accounted into school credits for a degree or diploma. However this is combination of ODE and OC. The effectiveness of this teaching model is doubtable.
I think the three intellectual phases (IG, IO, IC) is a reflection of a successful learning environment even outside of an online collaborative learning. Intellectual convergence, most especially, signifies the students’ growth of knowledge because they are able to have an informed postion. This really makes me reflect on how many of my past courses had allowed the class to reach a level of intellectual convergence. Chapter 6 also presents the significance in the role of the teacher or moderator. In the readings, it is explained that the professor is the representative of the knowledge community. Though this may be true, I do believe there is a disconnect between a professor’s expertise of a field and his method of pedagogy. Some professors are still using pedagogical methods wherein collaboration is lacking. I definitely agree that a moderator is required in order for a collaborative learning to go through the three intellectual phases but I also think being a moderator takes more than an expertise of the field of study.
The reading also shows that online collaborative learning (OCL) relies heavily on group, text-based, and internet-mediated discourse. I realized that these attributes are essential to the OCL pedagogy because they enable the intellectual phases to occur despite of some place and time restrictions.
Chapter 6: Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) Theory
Chapter 6 introduces the concept of learning theory and Online Collaborative Learning (OCL). OCL focuses on collaborative knowledge building through technology such as the internet. As mentioned in the previous chapters, technology has become a pioneering force in the knowledge age and in knowledge building itself.
The OCL intertwines collaborative learning, knowledge building and technology such as internet together to be implemented within educational platforms. As mentioned in class lecture, knowledge needs to be created, shared, disseminated, and upgraded. The pedagogy of the OCL is quite organic in nature as it is just a different and more updated way of disseminating information within our era. The knowledge age emphasizes creative, conceptual and collaborative forms of learning. With newer advances within technology and the progressive implementation of technology within education systems, OCL is flourishing and collaboration is more prevalent than ever.
The three distinct conventions of online learning as mentioned in the textbook are the Online Collaborative Learning (OCL), Online Distance Education (ODE), and Online Courseware (OC). Each approach utilizes internet and networking to maintain collaboration but are implemented in different ways to achieve learning. OCL focuses on peer collaboration and knowledge building through discussions, conversations, and debates online. It is moderated by an instructor but the majority of the discussion takes place between the students. Group learning is highly encouraged and involves a heavy amount of online discourse. ODE focuses on traditional education models but courses can be completed through email conversations. OC largely revolves around courseware that is accessible online but disregards collaboration amongst students.
Within the next few weeks, the differences between each will be discussed more in-depth as the class has not covered them quite yet. Each method has pros and cons which shape our opinions on them. By the end of the school semester, students should have a better understanding of how these function and which they prefer.
The chapter begins with the introduction of the context of online collaborative learning as the advancement of knowledge and a new way for teaching “Net Gen.” The need for new learning theories is linked with the concept that knowledge is dynamic and not fixed and therefore, new ways of learning have the potential to communicate new information and produce new knowledge. The history of online learning outlines how virtual classroom were imagined by a variety of online learning champions who slowly observed the acceptance of online learning. Online learning tended to produced students with better grades and helped educators gain confidence in online learning.
Online Collaborative Learning OCL is explained as mediated through the internet to gain conceptual understanding and knowledge products. It is facilitated through an instructor who is the key link between the knowledge community and the students. Online Distance Education (ODE) uses conversational self study methods for small groups of students. Online courseware (OC) is explained as the use of online environments to share courseware that is web-based.
OCL theory is explained as knowledge building activities that involve learning by doing. Online Discourse Technologies are identified as webinars, texting, blogs, chats, forums and email. OCL is also broken down by Professor Harasim as 1)Idea Generating, 2) Idea Organizing and 3)Intellectual Convergence and 4)Final Position. The attributes of OCL Environments are clearly listed as 1) Place independent discourse 2)Time independent 3) Many to many discourse 4) Text based discourse 5) Internet mediated discourse
Chapter 6: Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) Theory
I have learned so much from reading Chapter 6. Online collaborative leaning theory is a framework which guides learning theory and context. We all understand that the first three major socio-technology shifts (speech, writing, and printing) have all played significant roles in pushing human civilization. In this 21st century knowledge age, the internet revolution appears as the fourth and most recent shift in human history. The internet revolution breaks the boundaries of geographical barriers and made the free flow of information possible, which meets the needs of conceptual change and knowledge building in 21st century. More importantly, this knowledge age emphasizes processes of innovation over repetition, which is different from the education perspectives in 20th century. There are three distinct models of online leaning. They are Online Collaborative Leaning (OCL), Online Distance Education (ODE), and Online Courseware (OC). These three methods each use the internet and web for education, meanwhile, have major differences on learning theories. OCL addresses the needs and opportunities of the knowledge age and there are three stages of collaborative discourses. They are idea generating, idea organizing and intellectual convergence. There are five attributes of online collaborative leaning environments. They are place-independent discourse, time-independent discourse, many to many discourse, text based discourse and internet-mediated discourse. I believe the analysis of these five attributes is the most interesting part in this chapter. Professor Linda has a made great analysis on these five attributes. I have been engaging on online learning for about five years and have never such clearly realized these attributes until I read this chapter. The internet has broken the boundaries of geographical barriers and made the free flow of information possible. I could still have my online classes even if I am in another country. More importantly, asynchronous means that I have access to my learning materials 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I can also discuss with my fellow workers and share different perspectives. Important information is text-based, which enables me to store and improve ideas. With the help of new web tools, I can easily have access to a global network and communication with all kinds of people to learn whatever I am interested in.
Chapter 6 is an important chapter for understanding the development behind the Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) Theory. The “Net Generation” is all about collaborating, searching, reading, and organizing which has created a shift in the way that knowledge is acquired. Until recently, knowledge was transmissible from one source to another, or from a teacher to a student. However, with the proliferation of OCL, knowledge is about collaborative learning with others and the use of the online communities, which is mediated by the Internet. Advanced multimedia technologies are created to enhance the participation among users and is facilitated by a teacher.
The chapter emphasizes that learning is acquired through discourse and by conversing with others, users can improve ideas and build knowledge. Linda Harasim illustrates the four phases that are essential for OCL theory. Firstly, idea generating involves the passing of ideas, creating new perspectives and developing information. Secondly, idea organizing is about “demonstrating intellectual progress,” (p.93) and convergence. The third phase is called intellectual convergence and reflects a mutual understanding among participants while the final phase created knowledge building and encourages change.
The final portion of the chapter provides an overview of the five attributes of online collaborative learning environments. Place-independent discourse is collaboration beyond the classroom which is beneficial for many users because it allows multi-tasking to occur and access to education even with other responsibilities. Time-independent allows 24/7 access to information; many-to many is the capability to interact with several people for increased collaboration of knowledge; text-based is important because discourse is a powerful method to represent thoughts an ideas, and internet-mediated discourse is the final attribute because it allows users to learn from a variety of people and resources.
Chapter 6 deeply explores online collaborative learning theory providing a historical overview and an in-depth analysis on different approaches to online learning. Online learning began in the late 1970s and early 1980s from post secondary educator’s novel ideas for the future of learning.
This Chapter discusses each of the pedagogies (method and practice of teaching) of the online learning community. These include: Online collaborative learning (OCL), which emphasizes online discussion in collective settings to develop and build on existing knowledge; online distance education (ODE), which takes a correspondents approach, using postal methods to deliver materials and professor feedback; online courseware (OC) is guided by modules, which are followed by online testing.
Online collaborative learning theory emphasizes three key phases when building knowledge, these include: idea generating by effectively engaging with other learners in the online community; idea organizing where learners begin to congregate their ideas; and intellectual convergence where learners find common ground and share knowledge and understanding.
Access to technology is a key component to use of online learning. You must first own or have access to the technology (computers), as well as have access to the internet in order to be able to participate in the online community.
This chapter provides overall understanding to the benefits and characteristics that online learning communities provide for its users. These include: place-independent discourse, we can learn anywhere that allows for the technology and internet connection; Time-independent discourse provides flexibility to people’s lifestyles and time spent learning; many-to-many discourse; text-based discourse; and internet-mediated discourse
I really co’nuldt ask for more from this article.
Chapter 6: Online Collaborative Learning Theory (OCL)
This chapter gave an in-depth review of what OCL and how we can potentially use this method of learning on our current educational systems. I do agree that the way our educational system is currently set-up is outdated. I like the distinctions that were made about OCL, which encourage the collaboration of knowledge rather than the transport of knowledge learning from teacher to students. As the current structure of our educational systems allow little or no room for collaborative learning in classrooms it becomes more vital to try and merge the idea of OCL with schools.
With that said, in my opinion, the role of the teacher must be kept as a moderator and facilitator of OCL. Personally, I have experienced the online distance education (ODE) and found that the lack of collaboration and teachers becomes problematic as the study of such courses becomes highly independent and self directed the opportunity for collaboration with peers is lost. If student were able to have OCL with specialized tools and environments we could see a potential for more creative output and better problem solving skills. We need to be able to develop these skills in a collaborative method in order to maintain a level of comprehension for the problems that will arise in the future of technological societies.
In other words, we need to prepare ourselves for a world where the problems we are going to face do not yet exist (as technology is advancing at a remarkable level). In theory, our current set of problems and knowledge we learn in University could actually not be applicable in the next 5-10 years (with enhancement in technology). What we can take away from OCL is a collaborative framework, which allows us to dissect future problems and to emerge in a new world of technology.
Chapter 6: Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) theory
Chapter 6 identifies the major shift in transmission of knowledge that has occurred between the 20th century and the 21st century. The 20th century is identified to have a didactic approach to teaching and learning, on a epistemological basis was objectivism as it interacted with cognivist, behaviourist, developmental constructivist theories. The learning of this century was on “know to do,” how to operate and work things and the flow of information was finite and stagnate. Since then there has been a major shift in knowledge transmission.
The 21st century, also known as the “Knowledge Age”, gets its name from the adaptation of the Internet facilitating growth in the uptake and interaction of knowledge and the creation of it. Within the context of the 21st century’s “Knowledge Age” that Professor Harasim introduces OCL (Online Collaborative Theory) as a framework to guide learning theory and practice. Online Collaborative Theory is “ a new theory of learning that focuses on collaborative learning, knowledge building, and Internet use as a means to reshape formal, non formal and informal education for the knowledge age.”(p.82) As 21st knowledge is infinite and constantly being generated, processed and shared, there needs to be a educational tool that is able to facilitate towards the needs and opportunities of the Knowledge Age and those who are constantly engaging with it, the NetGens. Regardless of the convincing statistics of the benefits of OCL and its facilitation towards “self-regulated learning “mediated by the Internet, teachers remain hesitant in adopting it into their classroom. I believe this is because many teachers are unsure on how to focus the structure of teaching and learning, and fear they may be competing with the internet for control; it is because of fear there is reluctance. However, regardless of fear of the unknown, OCL acts as a new learning opportunity to help enhance collaborative learning, knowledge building, and advancement of issues, tools and new understandings.
er 6 focuses on the discussion of Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) Theory which has emerged following the diffusion of online education, due to the need for new ways of teaching that can be applied to the contemporary society and can overcome the challenges brought by the Knowledge Age. This theory acknowledges the fact that, users not only can learn passively but also actively, through interactions with one another. The point here is that, with the advent of technologies like the Internet, individuals are now readily connected with one another, unlike before, and as a result they can participate and collaborate with one another with more intensity than before. Pedagogies that were brought by this changing scene involve the OCL, online distance education (ODE) and online courseware (OC) where education is guided by modules and online testing. As once can conclude the nature of the 21st century society has changed and the channels through which individuals gain knowledge have also broaden which calls for the need of a new learning model that can account for the active participation of individuals in online knowledge building.
The advantages of online learning are highlighted throughout the Chapter, such as; place and time independent discourse, many-to-many discourse, text-based discourse and internet-mediated discourse. The importance of online communities, where knowledge is being shared and is constantly evolving is discussed, as well as, issues and challenges of online education like the need for an Internet and access to technology in order to communicate. In addition, another interesting point that Dr. Harasim raises on this section concerning education, is the gap between the way in which students deal with technology in their everyday lives, and how they deal with it in an educational level, since often they still learn passively instead of also engaging in discussion and actively building knowledge with the aid of technology.
Chapter 6 is all about Online Collaborative Learning theory. Because this theory is relatively new, we are still in the process of making concrete definitions for new terminology ex that come along with this theory, as they are often either misused or used in a very broad sense. For example, the chapter clearly defines the boundaries and definitions of Online Collaborative Learning, Online Distance Education, and Online Courseware.
In OCL theory! the instructor has a big role to fill as he mediator between the students and the knowledge community! unlike in active learning! where he or she is sometimes diminished into being just another participant.
Many of the online learning discourse technologies introduced in the chapter such as email, forum, blogs, etc. are already widely in used in education today, and through these platforms, OCL theory’s discourse phases (idea generating, organizing, and intellectual convergence) really shines.
The first thing chapter 6 talk about is collaborative learning theory. This theory believes that the net generation would be focusing on collaborating, searching and organization knowledge with others in order to get the knowledge. This theory basically means that the knowledge, unlike the traditional knowledge flow, from teacher to student, the knowledge would be produced through learning from each other through online communities. This theory ultimately creates online knowledge community that is enhanced by the technologies, especially Internet and devices that have access to the Internet.
This chapter wants to tell people that learning could be learning from others, unlike traditional learning (from teach to student), people who have the access would provide their own ideas and information and then produce the knowledge and improve the knowledge together. The four phases, which are idea generating, idea organization, intellectual convergence ad created knowledge building and encourages change, are mentioned and explained well in the chapter. The five attributes, which include place-independent, time independent, many-to-many, text-based, and Internet mediated, are also introduced and discussed within this chapter. These phases and attributes are essential elements that would help people to understand what collaborative learning theory is.
Growing up in the 21st Century I can see exactly how online collaborative learning can be beneficial. Chapter 6 describes OCL as a new theory of learning that focuses on collaborative learning, knowledge buuilding and Internet use as a means to reshape formal, nonformal and informal education for the Knowledge Age (p. 81). I have often had discussions with my friends/classmates about the ancient teaching techniques that most of us (in a Communications degree) are used to. The OCL is an important and necessary tool in order to adapt to changing times and the changing minds of individuals in the Knowledge Age. We have not altered our education system enough with all of our new technologies and advances in the 21st Century. Online collaborative learning helps us break the mould of the 1-to-many theory of learning while replacing it with collaboration of students and teachers.
Personally, I know that for myself I learn better when I am involved. I am not an individual that can listen, intake the information and regurgitate it back. OCL allows for different types of learners, in which students can comprehend and progress in their own way. By supporting a constructive learning environment, students may feel more inclined to actively engage in the knowledge they are learning. In the 20th Century Industrial Age we know learning theories focused on individual tasks and a clear instruction from “the source of knowledge”, in OCL because of its conceptual and creative building, individuals may feel more comfortable involving themselves without the fear of being outright wrong.
The sixth chapter of Professor Harasim’s book provides readers with both a contextual background of the development of Online Collaborative Learning theory as well as its practical application to present-day learning environments. The theory is premised upon the concept of collaboration to build knowledge, as well as the tendencies of the current “Net Generation” to gravitate towards web technologies to communicate and share knowledge and ideas.
Professor Harasim distinguishes three key pedagogies of online learning: online collaborative learning (OCL), online distance education (ODE), and online courseware (OC). Additionally, she identifies three key stages of development in the knowledge building process: idea generation (IG), idea organization (IO), and intellectual convergence (IC). Throughout the discussion of the different pedagogies and stages of knowledge building, Harasim reiterates the crucial role of the professor in online learning: to facilitate and direct discussion in a meaningful way while acting as a window to and example of the knowledge community they represent. Eliminating the role of professors has the potential to render human beings entirely obsolete in the teaching process, risking further damage to the overall quality of a learning environment.
Chapter Six of Harasim’s book is particularly useful in reminding readers of the mutually constitutive toolset/mindset relationship. To the extent that we shape our tools, our tools also shape us. It is essential that learning theories cease to reject the unfamiliar world of online learning, and begin to (at the very least) integrate collaborative learning theories into existing modes of education. As a student in my final semester of university who has always favored active and involved learning as opposed to purely didactic lectures, I regret that the further exploration and integration of collaborative learning theories was not a part of my curriculum sooner.
Chapter 6 introduced and expanded on the theory of Online Collaborative Learning designed for educational purposes. With the invention of computer networking and the undeniable emphasis on collaboration and knowledge building, it is safe to say that we have entered a time in which the world revolves around knowledge and information. In the 21st century, we have been introduced to an era known as the Knowledge Age, which marks the inception of new and unprecedented learning needs and opportunities that will impact how we perceive and indulge with learning. The chapter defines the term “online learning” and that it is comprised of three branches: Online Collaborative Learning, Online Distance Education, and Online Courseware. Further, the history of online learning is outlined to provide a scope of its development over its lengthy forty-year timeline. Every step of the way has contributed to the shaping of the theoretical foundations of OCL and how it ultimately affects our society today. The chapter concludes with some examples of the directions in which OCL is developing now and how effective they have proven to be to us thus far.
Chapter 6 of Learning Theory and Online Technology discusses the relatively new field of online learning with a focus on Online Colaborative Learning or OCL. Harasim gives us background on the development of online learning in ‘the knowledge age’ of the 21st century. She argues that due to the collaborative nature of the internet we live in a ‘knowledge creating civilization’, that we are not in the information age but rather the knowledge age.
In the chapter she defines OCL as a new learning theory that is representative of the knowledge age and focuses on ‘collaborative learning, knowledge building, and internet use as a means to reshape formal, non-formal and informal education.’ Harasim breaks down Online Collaborative Learning into the intellectual phases of idea generating, idea organizing, and intellectual convergence leading to knowledge building and social application. Another important point she makes is the role of the professor in online learning. She believes they are indispensable to online learning by facilitating and moderating the intellectual phases of IG, IO and IC, and also as a liaison between the knowledge community they belong to and the students they are teaching that may be come members of the same community. The professor is able to teach the students the language and knowledge that has been created so far in the knowledge community.
OCL is a very relevant learning theory to today’s society and how eliminating professors and turning to other forms of online learning such as MOOCs that are marked by artificial intelligence does not create an online environment conducive to collaboration and knowledge building.
Chapter six discuses that online learning is not simply just email, uploading lecture slides or web access. There are three distinct models of online learning they are “online collaborative learning (OCL)”, “online distance education (ODE)” and “online courseware (OC).” Although they all use the web, they have different approaches to educating online.
Online Collaborative Learning: Is a type of education application that focuses on online collaboration mediated by the Internet. The teacher is the facilitator of the group and helps guide the learners into debates and research process. Learners in the course work online mostly with asynchronous forum based discussions. Online
Distance Education: Is mostly based on the 19th and 20th century correspondents education model. Except with the online model, email is used to hand out course material and tutor feedback, instead of using the postal system.
Online Courseware: uses prepackaged course ware that learners can access online. It uses a self-paced system that allows for learns to interact with the course material, which is presented in the modular format. After the learner’s complete different components of the courseware, they are given a text. The test is usually is multiple choice and marked by a computer system. Online courseware is an example cognitive learning theory with instructional technology based.
Chapter six discusses one of the main focuses of the book, Online Collaborative Learning. The chapter argues that as technology evolves, learning has to change and adapt. Throughout history, learning has been closely tied with technology. As technology advances, the concept of learning changes with it. But with the introduction of the internet, learning has largely stayed the same as before. To use the internet is to do more than just use it for uploading notes and posting assignments.
The chapter begins with an introduction to the history of online learning and details how it has advanced since it’s conception. The chapter also goes into details on the various aspects of Online Collaborative Learning, such as tools, environment, and attributes. We are also no longer in an Information Society but the Knowledge Age. Through the use of the internet in learning, we will be able to use it as a new location of knowledge building and communication.
This chapter serves to involve the reader into the various ideas and role of Online Collaborative Learning. While previous chapters had touched on the concept of online learning, they only contained brief points. It is not until this chapter that the idea begins a main focus. The chapter does a good job at highlighting key points and provides adequate evidence to support the argued points. I feel that it is useful for providing a good detailed history of Online Collaborative Learning along with the various theories and aspects of it. The structure of the chapter is also successful in that each point is provided in an organized manner where the reader learns one point, and then a follow up point is led into. The chapter also does well to connect with the previous three epistemology by linking itself to the rest of the book as a whole. Overall, I feel that this chapter serves as a good way to introduce the reader into the whole idea of Online Collaborative Learning without overwhelming him/her.
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