Work and Learning across Boundaries:
Artifacts, Discourses, and Processes in a University Course
Mikhail Fominykh, Ekateri...
Trondheim, Norway

2
Norwegian University of Science
and Technology NTNU

3
Motivation and challenges:
Learning and Cooperation
o Project group work
– significant part in university education
– ofte...
Goals: Improving collaboration and
learning with boundary objects
o Explorative study
– using boundary objects in a new co...
Background: Boundary objects
and social learning systems
o Boundary objects:
– serve groups or communities in situations w...
Study: Cooperation Technology
course
o Elective course
o Credits: ETCS 7.5
o Grade: 70% groups project + 30%
essay
o Durat...
Study: Course Activities
Task 1
Course
activities

Task 2

Task 3

Collaborative writing + Creating a language
Collaborati...
Study: Types of collaboration
Task 1
Course
activities

Task 2

Task 3

Collaborative writing + Creating a language
Collab...
Study: Types of boundaries
Task 1
Course
activities

Task 2

Task 3

Collaborative writing + Creating a language
Collabora...
Study: Assigned technologies
Task 1
Course
activities

Task 2

Task 3

Collaborative writing + Creating a language
Collabo...
Study: Main outcomes
Task 1
Course
activities

Task 2

Task 3

Collaborative writing + Creating a language
Collaborative w...
Study: Data Sources and Analysis
Data sources
– direct observation of students’ activities online and
their recordings
– t...
Examples of student projects
Task 1
Main
outcomes

15

Handbook of
cooperation tools +
3D recordings

Task 2

Task 3

Lang...
16
e.g., http://www.vacademia.com/record/detailed/2100
17
18

http://simola.org/lingobee/index.php?gid=28
http://simola.org/lingobee/index.php?gid=29
19

http://cocreat.purot.net/
Results: Boundary objects
Boundary
objects
Seeding

Facilitating
creation

20

Shared
artifacts
Shared
discourses
Shared
p...
Boundary objects as artifacts
Seeded artifacts
– task description
– template for the expected outcome
– assigned tools and...
Boundary objects as discourses
Seeded discourses
–
–
–
–

shared descriptions of local courses
knowing each other beforeha...
Boundary objects as processes
Seeded processes
– scaffolding and tutoring
– expert reviews and peer-reviews

Created proce...
Implications:
Trends and challenges (1/7)
Successful collaboration in a diverse
group requires more complex boundary
objec...
Implications:
Trends and challenges (2/7)
The lack of clear leadership in such a
group may lead to breakdowns in
collabora...
Implications:
Trends and challenges (3/7)
Initial creation of boundary objects as
artifacts will normally benefit from a
t...
Implications:
Trends and challenges (4/7)
Boundary objects as discourses are
crucial in international, large, and
distribu...
Implications:
Trends and challenges (5/7)
Creation of boundary objects as
processes requires direct external
support on bo...
Implications:
Trends and challenges (6/7)
Cooperation technology tools may
play the role of boundary objects as
artifacts,...
Implications:
Trends and challenges (7/7)
Allowing a certain degree of freedom
in constructing boundary objects
benefits b...
Implications: Boundary objects
Boundary
objects
Seeding

Facilitating
creation

31

Shared
artifacts
Shared
discourses
Sha...
Seeding boundary objects as
shared artifacts
Observations

Implications and recommendations

Difficulties in starting coll...
Facilitating creation of boundary
objects as shared artifacts
Observations

Implications and recommendations

Use of diffe...
Seeding boundary objects as
shared discourses
Observations

Implications and recommendations

Materials about the foreign ...
Facilitating creation of boundary
objects as shared discourses
Observations

Implications and recommendations

Problems re...
Seeding boundary objects as
shared processes
Observations

Implications and recommendations

Problems understanding the ta...
Facilitating creation of boundary
objects as shared processes
Observations

Implications and recommendations

Use familiar...
Conclusions and future work
o Exploring how boundary objects
facilitate group work and learning in
educational context
–
–...
Thank you!
Mikhail Fominykh

mikhail.fominykh@ntnu.no

Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland
ekaterip@ntnu.no

Sobah Abbas Petersen
...
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Work and Learning across Boundaries: Artifacts, Discourses, and Processes in a University Course

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Conference presentation of a paper: Mikhail Fominykh, Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland, Sobah Abbas Petersen, and Monica Divitini: "Work and Learning across Boundaries: Artifacts, Discourses, and Processes in a University Course," in 19th International Conference on Collaboration and Technology (CRIWG), Wellington, New Zeeland, October 30–November 01, 2013, Springer, Online ISBN: 978-3-642-41347-6, pp. 159–174. doi>10.1007/978-3-642-41347-6_12

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Work and Learning across Boundaries: Artifacts, Discourses, and Processes in a University Course

  1. 1. Work and Learning across Boundaries: Artifacts, Discourses, and Processes in a University Course Mikhail Fominykh, Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland, Sobah Abbas Petersen, and Monica Divitini Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway 19th International Conference on Collaboration and Technology (CRIWG) October 30–November 01, 2013 Wellington, New Zealand 1
  2. 2. Trondheim, Norway 2
  3. 3. Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNU 3
  4. 4. Motivation and challenges: Learning and Cooperation o Project group work – significant part in university education – often required in a workplace o Students – Small groups • large communities – Collocated • distributed – Homogeneous • diverse o Cooperation – Facilitation of the creative process – Frustrations and disruptions 4
  5. 5. Goals: Improving collaboration and learning with boundary objects o Explorative study – using boundary objects in a new context – university course (collaborative activities) – observing student cooperation across boundaries – observing the use of cooperation technology tools o Implications – cooperation support across boundaries in a social learning system, e.g. why boundary objects are important, how to facilitate their creation and what technologies to choose 5
  6. 6. Background: Boundary objects and social learning systems o Boundary objects: – serve groups or communities in situations where each participant has only partial knowledge and partial control over the interpretation of an object – perform a brokering role involving “translation, coordination, and alignment among the perspectives of different Communities of Practice” (Fischer, 2001) – Artifacts, discourses, processes (Wenger, 2000) – Organizations, communities of practice, communities of interest o Rarely used in pure educational settings 6
  7. 7. Study: Cooperation Technology course o Elective course o Credits: ETCS 7.5 o Grade: 70% groups project + 30% essay o Duration: 13 weeks o Participants: 31 fourth year master students (seven groups 3–5) 7
  8. 8. Study: Course Activities Task 1 Course activities Task 2 Task 3 Collaborative writing + Creating a language Collaborative writing + presentation in 3D dictionary + a glossary f2f presentation / virtual world web-conferencing Types of Local group collaboration Local group + local community Local group + international Types of boundaries Between individuals Between local groups Between international groups Assigned technologies vAcademia LingoBee Adobe Connect, Purot Wiki, Prezi Main outcomes Handbook of cooperation tools + 3D recordings Language dictionary + glossary of terms Online media handbook on ed. tech. 9
  9. 9. Study: Types of collaboration Task 1 Course activities Task 2 Task 3 Collaborative writing + Creating a language Collaborative writing + presentation in 3D dictionary + a glossary f2f presentation / virtual world web-conferencing Types of Local group collaboration Local group + local community Local group + international Types of boundaries Between individuals Between local groups Between international groups Assigned technologies vAcademia LingoBee Adobe Connect, Purot Wiki, Prezi Main outcomes Handbook of cooperation tools + 3D recordings Language dictionary + glossary of terms Online media handbook on ed. tech. 10
  10. 10. Study: Types of boundaries Task 1 Course activities Task 2 Task 3 Collaborative writing + Creating a language Collaborative writing + presentation in 3D dictionary + a glossary f2f presentation / virtual world web-conferencing Types of Local group collaboration Local group + local community Local group + international Types of boundaries Between individuals Between local groups Between international groups Assigned technologies vAcademia LingoBee Adobe Connect, Purot Wiki, Prezi Main outcomes Handbook of cooperation tools + 3D recordings Language dictionary + glossary of terms Online media handbook on ed. tech. 11
  11. 11. Study: Assigned technologies Task 1 Course activities Task 2 Task 3 Collaborative writing + Creating a language Collaborative writing + presentation in 3D dictionary + a glossary f2f presentation / virtual world web-conferencing Types of Local group collaboration Local group + local community Local group + international Types of boundaries Between individuals Between local groups Between international groups Assigned technologies vAcademia LingoBee Adobe Connect, Purot Wiki, Prezi Main outcomes Handbook of cooperation tools + 3D recordings Language dictionary + glossary of terms Online media handbook on ed. tech. 12
  12. 12. Study: Main outcomes Task 1 Course activities Task 2 Task 3 Collaborative writing + Creating a language Collaborative writing + presentation in 3D dictionary + a glossary f2f presentation / virtual world web-conferencing Types of Local group collaboration Local group + local community Local group + international Types of boundaries Between individuals Between local groups Between international groups Assigned technologies vAcademia LingoBee Adobe Connect, Purot Wiki, Prezi Main outcomes Handbook of cooperation tools + 3D recordings Language dictionary + glossary of terms Online media handbook on ed. tech. 13
  13. 13. Study: Data Sources and Analysis Data sources – direct observation of students’ activities online and their recordings – the virtual artifacts the students created – user feedback: questionnaires, group reflection notes, semi-structured interviews, and individual essays Data analysis – Constant comparative method: coding with nVivo 14
  14. 14. Examples of student projects Task 1 Main outcomes 15 Handbook of cooperation tools + 3D recordings Task 2 Task 3 Language dictionary + glossary of terms Online media handbook on ed. tech.
  15. 15. 16
  16. 16. e.g., http://www.vacademia.com/record/detailed/2100 17
  17. 17. 18 http://simola.org/lingobee/index.php?gid=28 http://simola.org/lingobee/index.php?gid=29
  18. 18. 19 http://cocreat.purot.net/
  19. 19. Results: Boundary objects Boundary objects Seeding Facilitating creation 20 Shared artifacts Shared discourses Shared processes
  20. 20. Boundary objects as artifacts Seeded artifacts – task description – template for the expected outcome – assigned tools and their repositories Created artifacts – additional tools used for construction – major outcomes 21
  21. 21. Boundary objects as discourses Seeded discourses – – – – shared descriptions of local courses knowing each other beforehand (local groups) assigned LMS (only Task 1) introductory meetings (only Task 3) Created discourses – – – – 22 additional tools used for supporting the process good atmosphere similar motivation levels gradual adoption of joint communication norms
  22. 22. Boundary objects as processes Seeded processes – scaffolding and tutoring – expert reviews and peer-reviews Created processes – – – – 23 planning and coordination group cohesiveness extensive use of tools for supporting the process procedures of giving and receiving feedback between the groups
  23. 23. Implications: Trends and challenges (1/7) Successful collaboration in a diverse group requires more complex boundary objects. 24
  24. 24. Implications: Trends and challenges (2/7) The lack of clear leadership in such a group may lead to breakdowns in collaboration and limited use of boundary objects. 25
  25. 25. Implications: Trends and challenges (3/7) Initial creation of boundary objects as artifacts will normally benefit from a template or a pre-defined structure. 26
  26. 26. Implications: Trends and challenges (4/7) Boundary objects as discourses are crucial in international, large, and distributed groups, but challenging to establish. 27
  27. 27. Implications: Trends and challenges (5/7) Creation of boundary objects as processes requires direct external support on both the intergroup and international levels. 28
  28. 28. Implications: Trends and challenges (6/7) Cooperation technology tools may play the role of boundary objects as artifacts, discourses, and processes. 29
  29. 29. Implications: Trends and challenges (7/7) Allowing a certain degree of freedom in constructing boundary objects benefits both learning and group work. 30
  30. 30. Implications: Boundary objects Boundary objects Seeding Facilitating creation 31 Shared artifacts Shared discourses Shared processes
  31. 31. Seeding boundary objects as shared artifacts Observations Implications and recommendations Difficulties in starting collaboration in Creating initial shared artifacts to establish a tasks 2 and 3 (using different tools common understanding between sub-groups was a common reason) or individuals A single main course environment Establishing shared group spaces / tools / (LMS) was not used too much artifacts to mediate activities with one major and several accompanying technological platforms with appropriate means 32
  32. 32. Facilitating creation of boundary objects as shared artifacts Observations Implications and recommendations Use of different tools for working on Linking and annotating versions of boundary the same documents and discussing objects across different media them on other platforms Use of familiar tools even if the new Providing instructions to make full use of its tool was more effective potentials and a list of alternatives 33
  33. 33. Seeding boundary objects as shared discourses Observations Implications and recommendations Materials about the foreign groups Introducing boundary objects in advance, were useful, but not sufficient including shared curriculum, study materials, and goal descriptions The joint meetings were useful, but Conducting scheduled the students struggled organizing especially in the beginning them. joint activities, Problems with understanding Establishing designated shared information collaborators and explaining own spaces for reference materials point of view across different disciplines 34
  34. 34. Facilitating creation of boundary objects as shared discourses Observations Implications and recommendations Problems reaching a common Providing moderator understanding of the tasks and roles meetings/negotiations Students appreciated the presence of tutors at the meetings. assistance during Problems starting collaboration Conducting scheduled “ice-breaking” activities, without knowing all the peers and especially in the beginning their communication habits. Communication improved introducing familiar tools 35 after Providing mechanisms for mapping workspaces and social networks
  35. 35. Seeding boundary objects as shared processes Observations Implications and recommendations Problems understanding the task, Providing task descriptions with clear especially when international sub- instructions on the process, including possible groups were involved roles Problems in finding time when all members can meet Missing feeling of team spirit, especially in international teams Securing time slots when all participants can be available for joint activities Conducting regular activities in the designated group spaces Problems finding a suitable tool for Providing assistance with complex boundary supporting collaboration in larger objects (e.g., groupware tools) groups 36
  36. 36. Facilitating creation of boundary objects as shared processes Observations Implications and recommendations Use familiar tools for organizing the collaborative process (those who chose learning new tools did not regret) Providing designated tools that are familiar to majority of the students to increase efficiency, and exposing students to unknown tools to allow them learn Individuals (or sub-groups) had Motivating students in identifying roles and different level of motivation, and this developing a set of rules/“working contract” caused problems with participation and commitment. Problems identifying a leader Providing assistance (e.g., assigning roles) when no clear leaders available 37
  37. 37. Conclusions and future work o Exploring how boundary objects facilitate group work and learning in educational context – – Identifying learning opportunities provided by the boundaries Suggesting how to facilitate cooperative processes by seeding appropriate boundary objects and supporting their creation during group work o Continuing exploring boundary objects in educational settings 38
  38. 38. Thank you! Mikhail Fominykh mikhail.fominykh@ntnu.no Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland ekaterip@ntnu.no Sobah Abbas Petersen sap@idi.ntnu.no Monica Divitini divitini@idi.ntnu.no http://www.idi.ntnu.no/~fominykh/ http://www.linkedin.com/in/fominykh http://slideshare.net/mfominykh/ 39

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