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In this present study, “human collaboration in a group” means a set of intentional actions that one makes in order to help another member of a group accomplish a task or an activity that is relevant to the
According to this approach, human activities in which cooperation can be identified are those that have something more than a common objective, a shared vocabulary, and the possibility of interaction. Wenger (1998) points to engagement as one significant element. For us, it is still a fuzzy concept, in the sense that “engagement” is a broad concept that can include many others. For our purpose, we consider “engagement” as the result of social relations, in the specific activities of a given community, where people assume that specific roles and values exist, and these role and values are recognized and adhered to by everyone in the community. Roles and values help people project and reflect images of identity. If cooperation is part of such roles, then it can become a value and, through its practice, can help develop cooperative attitudes among the
For a collaborative online learning environment, we propose an ensemble of services allowing students to work in small groups (a maximum of 10 students per group) in order to propose solutions to a problem presented by an instructor. We assume that learning is a discovering process and that the evaluation of a student must consider such points as the quality of the solution proposed by the student’s group, how the student uses and connects concepts
For us, the general characteristics of such an environment are as
An assessment process that considers content-
Students working in small groups so that they can easily learn about each other.
A PBL approach.
The use of portfolios to visualize learning processes and authorship.
The use of ideas to evaluate students—One “idea” is made of a hypothesis (proposed by one student), some arguments (documents that the student chose in a digital library), and at least one intellectual product (a document produced by the student after reasoning about his or her hypothesis and the arguments he or she found). Arguments are related to the hypothesis by semantic links. The structure of an idea makes it simple for students deal with (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Example of an “idea”
The use of portfolios to organize ideas in semantic
Assessments done not by evaluating students according to a final work, but by considering its quality and the contributions of every group member.
The use of document annotation—Students can make semantic marks on the documents they choose. These marks explain how the documents can contribute to an idea. Annotations are important, because they make explicit to students what they know about something and can also be used by
An assessment method that considers both individual and group portfolios—The assessment criteria adopted may consider dimensions like richness of ideas (originality of hypotheses, robustness of argumentation, and quality of intellectual products) and collaboration (suggesting arguments or intellectual products in response to others’ ideas, negotiation ability, responsibility, and responsiveness).
A learning process
An individual phase in which every student creates and organizes his or her ideas inside his or her portfolio, studies the assessment criteria that the teachers will use, and prepares his or her arguments to convince the other group members that these arguments will benefit the group’s project.
A group phase in which students submit their ideas to their peers, who vote on the best ones to keep in the group’s portfolio—Before voting, students defend the quality of their ideas against the criticisms of the other group members.
In order to implement the above characteristics, many specialized and transparent services are necessary. Identifying such services is a difficult task requiring the use of appropriate tools, for instance, the SAAS (System Analysis for Agent Systems) method, which helps to identify the necessary services and the
 The economic model involves the perception one has about how one’s value is recognized by others (e.g., being paid for a service, receiving a grade for a quiz, or being praised after accomplishing a task).
The social model involves the perception one has about one’s power among the other members of a community (e.g., being
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