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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3038

Title: Sustaining collaborative knowledge building: continuity in virtual math teams
Authors: Sarmiento-Klapper, Johann W.
Keywords: Information Science;Computer-assisted instruction;Educational technology
Issue Date: 9-Jun-2009
Abstract: When virtual teams engage in knowledge building—the creation and improvement of knowledge artifacts, they can face significant challenges related to overcoming discontinuities, such as integrating the activities of multiple participants, coordinating sessions over time, and monitoring how ideas and contributions evolve. Paradoxically, these gaps emerge from the very factors that make collaborative knowledge building promising: diversity of actors, activities, and ideas engaged over time. This dissertation investigated how Virtual Math Teams (VMT) who participated in the Math Forum online community “bridged” the discontinuities emerging from their multiple episodes of collaboration over time and the related changes in participation, and explored the role that such “bridging activity” played in the teams’ knowledge building. Through Ethnomethodology-oriented interaction analysis of episodes of collaboration selected from 38 naturally-occurring, online sessions within two VMT “Spring Fests,” the following findings emerged: (a) Bridging Methods: 4 practices were central to how VMT teams sustained knowledge building: Reporting, Collective Re-membering, Projecting, and Cross-team Bridging. These practices intertwined 3 key interactional elements: Temporality, Participation, and Knowledge Artifacts. (b) Temporality: VMT teams actively constituted temporal sequences of interaction as resources to organize their collective knowledge building over time. (c) Knowledge Artifacts. Each bridging method involved the co-construction of a bridging artifact interlinking group knowledge-building activity across different episodes or collectivities. (d) Positioning: VMT teams purposely placed individual and collective participants, their history of interaction, and relevant knowledge resources relative to each other in a situated field of interaction. (e) Continuity. The interactional relationships among Temporality, Participation, and Knowledge Artifacts established through bridging were critical to establishing diachronic continuity of knowledge building for an individual team as well as the expansive continuity of a larger collective of multiple virtual teams. These findings offer a framework for understanding how online collectivities sustain knowledge building over time. This study does not represent a complete and general scheme of bridging mechanisms; however, it highlights the frequently overlooked role of constructed temporality within the situated knowledge field that VMT teams developed over time and the dialectical integration of temporality with the organization of participation and the development of knowledge artifacts.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3038
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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