Gregory Gilmore

Professional Portfolio

Program of Study


ISLT 9456 Designing Computer Support for Collaborative Learning


Semester: Summer 2011

Instructor: Dr. Jim Laffey

Credits: 3


Course Description

Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) is an emerging area of learning technologies that uses networked systems to support social learning. In this course students explore the conceptual base and system implementations of CSCL. Through several design activities students learn how to design for learning that is both collaborative and computer-mediated.

In this course students will examine theoretical bases for using collaboration and social interaction as methods for learning, and explore key functions and approaches for using computers for collaborative learning. Through the use of readings, examples, activities, and discussions the class will build an understanding of the foundations and applications of computer supported collaborative learning. Through participation in a CSCL lesson design project class members will experience working as active and contributing members of an online class and knowledge-building community. Members will also develop an understanding of the attributes and state of the art of CSCL environments.

Reflection Statement

This was the only design course in my program, and it approached educational technology from a different angle—that of an online instructor.  Blended learning models that incorporated face to face instruction and online interaction were discussed, but the main focus of the course was collaborative learning exclusively through online technology.  I have studied cooperative learning before, including Kagan structures, and this course was a useful addition to those studies and previous experience I have had with face to face cooperative learning.  As a K-4 librarian, any cooperative learning that I facilitate with technology will also include face to face interaction, but the concepts, activities, and procedures that were discussed and practiced in this course can be easily modified to meet the needs of different educational levels and instructional settings.  This course allowed me to explore the strengths and shortcomings of computer supported collaborative learning by participating in several collaborative assignments with a team of two other students, and I was able to study the underlying philosophy of CSCL that has developed over the past decade.  In addition to these practical skills and experiences, I now know that there is a body of research available if I should need to further investigate this topic in the future.