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Preview: Shared Learning

Shared Learning

A blog about how to turn postgrad research into a networked, collaborative learning experience.


People around the world are subscribed to newsgroups, often resulting in information we are not interested in. Subscription to a from of RSS, however, can reduce the frustration accociated with unwanted e-mails.

HOW IT WORKS: When subscribing to a RSS-service, a person will add to his/her profile those URL’s that person is interested in. The service provider will then alert it’s members about new updates on the member’s favorite site when those sites are updated. Websites are checked often (up to once every hour) by service providers. When a member logs in to the service provider, those sites updated can be viewed.

Such a service can be viewed by clicking HERE. This specific site claims to be the most comprehensive of it’s kind and it offers it’s service for free.

RSS can thus be a valuable tool for Collaborative Learning. For the posting of personal academic experience on a shared website, but also to view information resources, this is a tool to be utilized by the modern student.

By George 4 Aug 2004

Collaborative benefits

One of the many journal articles written on the subject, focuses on how students can assist each other in their studies and the mutual benefit thereof for those involved. See the following article:

Wentzel, K. R., Watkins, D.E. (2002). Peer relationships and collaborative learning as contexts for academic enablers. School-Psychology-Review, 31(3): 366-377.

By George 19 Mar 2004

Collaborative learning research articles

I was surprised by the research that is going on in the field of collaborative learning: several research articles were recently published. These articles focus on the effects of shared learning and the contribution of the environment. It was said that, although an environment might be perfect for this approach, psychological an group factors will determine whether learners will make use of these facilities.

By George 24 Feb 2004

Using RSS to keep up to date

There is a nice simple lesson plan in the "plans for facilitating learning online" book-in-progress about how to get a group of students to start using RSS aggregators. I've always thought of RSS as something that one learns about after learning about blogs - a kind of extra feature that makes blogs better. This article has made me think, however, that maybe it makes more sense for RSS to come first. Once somebody who is new to these things has used an RSS aggregator for a while to keep up to date with a string of blogs and other news sources, she will have a much better idea of what blogs are, how they exist in a loosely coupled network, and why she might want to start her own blog.

By Martin T. 18 Feb 2004

A research guide for students - not quite

A Research Guide for Students is fairly typical of the genre in that it provides lots of (probably quite useful) pointers to how to get information from the web and then use it in research papers and conference presentations. So the model is essentially one of using the web as a kind of super-library. This could be useful, but what we're really looking for are pointers on how to use the web as a two-way medium where you become part of a network of people publishing stuff online. Even if you're in read-only or lurking mode, it's one thing to approach the web as a repository of documents, and another to see it in terms of networks of people and institutions actively working to create knowledge.

By Martin T. 16 Feb 2004

Where sharing starts

Smartmobs has an interesting post on MSN usage in the Netherlands - 4 million of their 11 million Internet population are registered MSN users. Young people are especially heavy users, with an average of 49 buddies each and some going to the current limit of 150 buddies. Jenny Levine of shiftedlibrarian comments: "150 buddies on their lists? Just imagine the social networks these kids are going to have when they enter the work force and what kinds of expectations they'll have for interacting with them!" So it seems that, in the Netherlands at least, an upcoming generation of students already see actively building a network of peers as a key ingredient of working, playing and learning.

By Martin T. 12 Feb 2004

Starting a new blog

This blog is a tentative attempt by George (MA student at the University of South Africa) and Martin (a lecturer) to explore the possibilities of shared graduate research in the social sciences. It is meant (hopefully!) to lead to a text that will complement the Collaborative Learning Environments Sourcebook. The material in the CLE Sourcebook tends to make sense to people already doing or interested in online teaching and who want to enhance the collaborative learning aspect of their courses. The complementary text we are working towards would be useful to postgrad students who would like to become part of networks of other students and practitioners working in their field, but who need tips on how to do this.

By George Krause 12 Feb 2004