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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/1728

Title: Group cognition in chat: Methods of interaction / methodologies of analysis
Authors: Stahl, Gerry
Issue Date: 2005
Citation: Paper presented at the Kaleidoscope CSCL SIG Workshop on Analysis of Interaction and Learning, NAIL 2005, Gothenburg, Sweden. Retrieved July 13, 2006 from http://www.cis.drexel.edu/faculty/gerry/pub/nail2005.pdf and http://www.cis.drexel.edu/faculty/gerry/pub/nail2005ppt.pdf.
Abstract: How do groups construct their shared experience of collaborating online? While answers to many questions in human-computer interaction have been formulated largely in terms of individual psychology, questions of collaborative experience require consideration of the group as the unit of analysis. Naturally, groups include individuals as contributors and interpreters of content, but the group interactions have structures and elements of their own that call for different analytic approaches. In the Virtual Math Teams project, we are studying how middle school students do mathematics collaboratively in online chat environments. We are particularly interested in the methods that they develop to conduct their interactions in such an environment. Taken together, these methods define a culture, a shared set of ways to make sense together. The methods are subtly responsive to the chat medium, the pedagogical setting, the social atmosphere and the intellectual resources that are available to the participants. These methods help define the nature of the collaborative experience for the small groups that develop and adopt them. We have adapted the scientific methodology of conversation analysis to the micro-analysis of online, text-based, mathematical discourse. In this paper, we share some of our preliminary findings about how small groups make sense collaboratively in the settings we study (see Acknowledgments). For instance, we distinguish between expository and exploratory modes of narrative, show how individual and group knowledge is intertwined, analyze a proposal-response pair that is typical in math chats and look at referencing patterns that determine chat threading. Through the use of the kinds of methods analyzed in this paper, small groups construct their collaborative experience. The chat takes on a flow of interrelated ideas for the group, analogous to an individual’s stream of consciousness. The referential structure of this flow provides a basis for the group’s experience of intersubjectivity, common ground and a shared world. We call this experience group cognition—a form of distributed cognition that involves advanced levels of cognition like mathematical problem solving. As designers of educational chat environments, we are particularly interested in how small groups of students construct their interactions in chat media that have different technical features. How do the students learn about the meanings that designers embedded in the environment and how do they negotiate the methods that they adopt to turn technological possibilities into practical means for mediating their interactions? Ultimately, how can we design with students the technologies, pedagogies and communities that will result in desirable collaborative experiences for them?
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/1728
Appears in Collections:Faculty Research and Publications (IST)

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