This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Full Description [April 18, 2011, 4:08 p.m.]

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