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Full Description

Please read the below, as well as the different "Tasks" (left sidebar towards the bottom), and then if you are interested in being a core member, click on apply to "sign up", if you want to follow along, you can "Follow" (button on left sidebar) the course. Course will start on April 25th, 2011.

Introduction to the field of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning

organized by Stian Haklev and Monica Resendes at P2PU

Target group
Graduate students in educational technology interested in the field of CSCL - many of whom do not have access to appropriate courses at their own institutions
People active in the open education movement, involved with MOOCs etc, who are interested in how this academic field can benefit their projects
Anyone else - teachers? (Unlikely that many will find out about it). We expect a minimum level of educational theory, etc.

Through an eight-week course, provide an overview of the field of CSCL, including some consideration of how it is situated within the broader fields of educational technology, and education, as well as its history. Through a focus on a few important topics, let students read seminal papers in the field, and engage meaningfully with relevant theories and approaches. Provide an overview over key theoretical perspectives, as well as case studies of a few well-known CSCL platforms.

Traditional P2PU courses differ from more open-ended networked courses in that there is a specific number of participants who go through an application process, and make a social commitment to completing the course. This course will both feature this core group of people, but will also be open to ‘peripheral participation’ by anyone, without any obligation.

Core group
People wishing to be part of the core group must apply, supplying information about themselves, and answering a sign-up question. They will be informed that they are expected to complete the course, and reserve a certain amount of time each week for the duration of the course. They will be able to post on the P2PU course site, and their blogs will be aggregated in the main activity stream of the course.

Peripheral network
All learning materials in the course, and all learning interactions, will be publicly viewable by anyone without requiring logging in. People who choose to register at P2PU can “follow” the course, which implies no social obligation, and simply makes available the same activity stream and (optionally) e-mail notifications as the core students receive. Peripheral participants are free to self-organize outside the P2PU platform, and engage with the learning materials and discussions in any way they wish, for example by blogging. If the use the #csclintro hashtag, their contributions will be syndicated in a publicly visible place, and the course organizers will also curate a collection of the best external material and include this in their regular updates.

P2PU Badges ( is an experimental website where students can “challenge” certain badges by linking to evidence of meeting the stated criteria. Others can vote up or down, according to the posted rubric (see example The completion of the course will be based on acquiring a number of badges. There will be four competency-based badges, organized around the four main topics of the course (foundational theories, knowledge building, design of collaborative learning environments, and case studies). To obtain these badges, learners will have to demonstrate an understanding of these topics, evidenced by a link to a blog post or other external artefact.

There will also be a few collaboration and contribution (C+C) badges. For example, learners are asked to contribute to a CSCL wiki, where we will be collecting profiles of prominent CSCL researchers, important CSCL tools, CSCL theories, etc. Contributing one new page, and editing one existing page, will give the learner the wiki badge. There might also be badges for volunteering to lead discussions one week, etc.

To complete the course, learners must challenge the course meta-badge. This requires evidence of completing all four competency badges, and at least one C+C badge, as well as a reflection on the course (and evidence of helping evaluate other’s badge challenges).

The two course organizers will participate in all course activities alongside all other learners, and will also have to complete the requisite number of badges, in order to formally complete the course. The group that successfully completes the course will receive a physical diploma, signed by all completing students equally.

Peripheral participants are also welcome to challenge the same badges, as long as they find someone willing to assess their contributions.

There will be a few obligatory readings for each week, together with a list of additional resources (ideally, this resource will grow as the course progresses, becoming a valuable annotated bibliography of freely available CSCL literature). For core students, there will be a discussion forum available on the P2PU platform. They will also be encouraged to blog on their own external blogs, which will be syndicated into the platform. There will be a one hour meeting in Big Blue Button every week, sometimes with guest presenters. The course organizers will post brief YouTube videos summarizing each week, and send out bi-weekly updates, pointing out interesting external resources, etc.

Core students are also welcome to experiment with external platforms, such as mind-mapping tools, graphical discourse environments, etc. There will be a CSCL wiki, either on, or in an external location, where we will try to capture the most valuable contributions that come up during the course.

Course schedule and topics 

(we will post more detailed lists of readings for each week)

Week Starts Topic
1 April 25 Intro to the course, intro to the field - constructivism, Lave & Wenger
2 May 2nd intro cont.: Historical overview of CSCL (Stahl, et al.), Vygotsky
3 May 9th group cognition, cognitive artefact, Stahl
4 May 16th Knowledge Building, Scardamalia and Bereiter
5 May 23rd Design of Collaborative Learning Environments: representational guidance (Suthers)
6 May 30th Design cont: scaffolding, affordances, scripting
7 June 6th Cases: Knowledge Forum, WISE, Math Forum
8 June 13th Wrap up, review

Task Discussion

  • Monica Resendes   June 10, 2011, 4:57 p.m.

    Hi all,

    the link to this week's meeting can be found here

    and here:

    and on the WK 7 page

    This week we have a special presentation: Sandy McCauley will be sharing his work using KB/KF with MEd students in Nunavut.

  • Monica Resendes   May 26, 2011, 12:13 p.m.

    Bi-Weekly #9 ready to roll.

  • Monica Resendes   May 23, 2011, 3:38 p.m.

    The Bi-Weekly #8 is out!

  • Monica Resendes   May 15, 2011, 1:40 p.m.

    The Bi-Weekly #6 is out!

  • Monica Resendes   May 12, 2011, 11:35 p.m.

    Bi-Weekly #5 - out and about.

  • Monica Resendes   May 9, 2011, 9:27 a.m.

    Bi-Weekly #4 is out!

  • Monica Resendes   May 6, 2011, 12:54 p.m.

    Hi all,

    if you could respond to this comment and let me know whether you want a BBB meeting this Sat at 5pm EST, that'd be great!

  • Rebecca Cober   May 6, 2011, 1:22 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Monica Resendes   May 6, 2011, 12:54 p.m.

    Hi Monica -

    Yes, that time works for me. See you guys then, with headphones!! :)


  • Marcy Murninghan   May 6, 2011, 1:41 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Rebecca Cober   May 6, 2011, 1:22 p.m.

    Works for me, too--need to catch up on these threads, as well. Crazy week again, but really look forward to reading and joining in!

  • Nate Otto   May 6, 2011, 1:44 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Monica Resendes   May 6, 2011, 12:54 p.m.

    i'll be at a baby shower that starts an hour before that. i'll bring a laptop and may be able to join in.  did you decide against using whenisgood to confirm these things?

  • Monica Resendes   May 6, 2011, 1:53 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Nate Otto   May 6, 2011, 1:44 p.m.

    No, we were still planning on using it. I put up a link to it in The Bi-Weekly #2 - but I should have reiterated in the subsequent newsletter. My mistake!

    I sent out the request about meeting times this afternoon because I had just went in to check if anyone marked off times in 'whenisgood' and there were none, so I thought a message would be more effective.

    What we can do is have Sat at 5pm as a default time, but there will be links in both bi-weeklies to 'whenisgood' in case people want to set up an alternate time in upcoming weeks.

    If anyone has comments on this, maybe we can start up a convo on the "Meta-Discussion about how the group is organized" page. I know everyone has such busy schedules, and we don't want weekly meetings to be an inconvenience!

    To avoid confusion this week we'll keep the meetin on Sat at 5pm EST (thanks for responding so quickly, everyone)



  • Jennifer Claro   May 6, 2011, 4:38 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Monica Resendes   May 6, 2011, 12:54 p.m.

    Hi Monica,

    I'll be there! :) Thank you for setting it up, the time is fine for me.

    Could we please firm up what we'll be discussing, at least a little bit? I haven't read any of this weeks articles yet, getting caught up with last week... sorry... :(

    Maybe people could post a topic that they are interested in so we could be sure to have read at least a couple of the articles before our discussion?

    Sorry, I hope to be caught up soon!



  • Monica Resendes   May 6, 2011, 6:19 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jennifer Claro   May 6, 2011, 4:38 p.m.

    We could discuss a number of things:

    People could post topics or questions that they want to discuss from the readings, and we'll take these up in discussion.

    We could also have some time to shape up what we want to create from this course (Zotero archive, OER artifact, etc). At best we could outline some concrete goals and themes to start working on.

    I'd suggest that people voice any pressing concerns they have with the course - whatever those might be.

    It would be great, as you suggested Jennifer, that people post their questions or concerns and that way I can draft a brief working agenda for the meeting.

  • Jennifer Claro   May 7, 2011, 7:59 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Monica Resendes   May 6, 2011, 6:19 p.m.


    My 2 cents input to our upcoming chat :)

    1. Topics to discuss: I’d like to discuss the papers by 1) Suthers and 2) Stahl et al., if anyone else is interested in these - the main points and anything of interest.

    2. Group artefact: I’m not as enthusiastic about writing a paper as I was before simply because of time issues and a fair amount of other commitments already. But I’d be up for something else :) Let's discuss possibilities.

    3. Pressing concerns about the course: None, it’s great! I just wish there were 48 hours in a day…

    Thanks for everything Monica, and everyone!



  • Monica Resendes   May 4, 2011, 6:13 p.m.

    "The Bi-Weekly" #3 is out!  Extra bonus points for anyone who can think of a better title!!

  • Monica Resendes   May 3, 2011, 8:32 a.m.


    I thought these questions were worth repeating... why are you here? what is our shared goal? The sign-up task for the course asked you to do this, however those responses are not accessible to the group! It would definitely be worth our while to contribute to the etherpad Joe has created to start digging into these questions: 

    Or go ahead and create a blog post outlining your own work and ideas, as well as your thoughts about how we can collectively create a useful OER, and link to it.  If this week is super busy and you only have a few minutes, you can upload a video -- Stian did a nice job of conveying his motivations and goals for the course in his intro video. This might be a useful approach if you're pressed for time!

  • Rebecca Cober   May 1, 2011, 8:36 p.m.

    Thanks for setting up the piratepad, Joe. I think that it's worth restating our individual goals and also to think about articulating a collective goal for the course, now that we are a week into the course. I like Joe's suggested collective goal statement for the course: Create an OER that will be useful to others interested in CSCL.

    I think having a concrete goal will go a long way towards helping us to approximate a community of practice, if it is possible to do so in an 8 week, online course. If we agree that his is a goal we all want to work towards, it might be worth considering fairly early on how we can make this resource useful to others, what form the OER resource will take, and how we can make our OER available to others.

  • Joe Corneli   May 2, 2011, 7:40 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Rebecca Cober   May 1, 2011, 8:36 p.m.

    Regarding the "Community of Practice" idea: can you or someone else please summarize the case for wanting to approximate one, and the satisfaction criteria involved?  The Engestrom paper I mentioned does a reasonable job making the case against, in the form of a few anti-features.  Communities of Practice are said to have fixed boundaries and initiation rituals, which Engestrom finds to be unrealistic.  The origins of the CoP idea appear to be associated with the paper Institutional Ecology, Translations, and Coherence: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-1939 and I just wonder whether these patterns are what we want to emulate in the course or not.

    That's not to say that we shouldn't have some norms or practices: but pinning them to the CoP star may or may not be what we want to do.

  • Rebecca Cober   May 3, 2011, 9:13 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Joe Corneli   May 2, 2011, 7:40 a.m.

    Thanks for the link to the article, Institutional Ecology, Translations, and Coherence: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. I read through it to see if I could trace the origins of CoPs to it. I'm interested to know how you came to this article. 

    The connections I see to CoPs are:

    • Participants in the community share a common goal; in the case of the article, to preserve California's natural ecology
    • Participants come from a range of backgrounds and may have different individual goals and different methodological approaches
    • "Method controls' may be a useful way of ensuring that all participants create useful boundary objects: objects that "inhabit multiple worlds simultaneously, but which must meet the demands of each one." p. 408
    • Creating standards of practice is like fabricating a mesh: the mesh must be fine enough to filter out artefacts that are not useful to the community because they do not meet a minimum standard, and the mesh must not be so fine that the contributions of group members will be excluded.
    • In addition to "method controls", other means of ensuring a cohesive set of community practice may emerge through the process of the work itself
    • There is also a sense that the work of the knowledge community must leave a usable legacy that will be beneficial for future knowledge workers
  • Joe Corneli   May 3, 2011, 9:43 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Rebecca Cober   May 3, 2011, 9:13 a.m.

    Pretty sure it's mentioned in the references of Etienne Wenger's thesis.

  • Jennifer Claro   May 3, 2011, 7:35 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Joe Corneli   May 2, 2011, 7:40 a.m.

    Hi Joe and everyone,

    I just posted my answer to the question of whether we (our learning community) at P2PU are a CoP at my blog, please see . My post doesn't directly answer your question but it is related. I haven't read the article you suggested by Engestrom (but I've printed it) and I need to get back into some situated cognition articles, so this is a rather situated response. I hope to extend it later on.



  • Nate Otto   May 4, 2011, 10:48 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Joe Corneli   May 2, 2011, 7:40 a.m.

    I mentioned in my post responding to Monica's week 1 questions that I thought we could loosely resemble a CoP in this course, with the emphasis on loosening the definition and not applying it specifically to the participation in this course, this term, right now. In following a handful of open online courses, I've noticed a common set of practices and norms, from the requirement to set up one's own blog where assignments are postes to the Downes-style "Daily" (in this case bi-weekly) email summary of distributed course activity. I think "online peer learners" is something closer to the community of practice we are building than "online peer learners participating in p2pu's cscl-intro course in the spring of 2011". It is kind of like a profession's CoP but there is no board that determines entry requirements. Is it a new development in CoP's to have open borders, or does that still disqualify online peer learners from being a community of practice?

    In any case, the language of networks (or Personal Learning Networks) may still be more applicable to participation in this course than that of Community of Practice theory. But I do like the notion that in CoPs there is a semblance of shared goals, shared norms, and an expectation of cooperation. Those may be useful concepts to emulate.

  • Joe Corneli   May 1, 2011, 4:20 p.m.

    One thing I felt was missing from the first meeting was a discussion about the goals for the course.  Our organizers have made a very nice and detailed plan, but I think that since this is a peer course it would be very useful to collect everyone's individual motivations.  We got into that a little bit in our self-introductions, but the meeting was rather chaotic.  Accordingly I am copying the outline from the plan above into an etherpad where we can discuss it at our leisure:

    Perhaps the pad can itself grow to become a useful "output" of the course.