Collaborative Learning

Martin Terre Blanche

This is a diary of my involvement in a project on collaborative learning in the psychology department at the University of South Africa. Most recent posts below and links to previous posts on the left.

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More on blogging and learning - S├ębastien and Sebastian

I have always been impressed with S├ębastien Paquet's article on personal knowledge publishing and its uses in research because it's not only a nice intro to blogging but also relates it very nicely to the wider question of being an academic in the networked age. I've just discovered another similar article, this one by Sebastian Fiedler on personal webpublishing as a reflective conversational tool for self-organized learning in which he relates blogging technologies to a theory of conversational learning. The article starts out quite abstractly, but moves on to relate particular technologies to the theoretical work-up in all sorts of thought-provoking ways. For example, this is what he writes about RSS:
RSS becomes really interesting when we gain more control over the creation of specific RSS output files. If we are able to create specific output files we can design content flows that directly support our conversational meaning making activities. Being able to put out a RSS encoded summary of all items that I have previously categorized in a personally meaningful way does not only allow others to subscribe to this particular output channel, but also offers opportunities to feedback the newly packaged content into my personal learning space. There I can display it, for example, on a dedicated page along other related content or hyperlinks to additional material. Thus I can support my search for higher order concepts, similarities, or new patterns of meaning. Of course, this becomes even more powerful when I can directly incorporate items in a specific RSS feed that are sitting somewhere on the Web. Now, I can string together distributed content in meaningful ways and feed this back into my conversational learning process.

posted by Martin on Thursday, May 22, 2003
SIMIAN standards

Clinton Armitage drew my attention to the Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite - a very important standard for collaborative learning - not only because it is being developed through the usual Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) collaborative process, but also because the situation for which it seeks to develop standards is itself a collaborative enterprise of a very special kind.

posted by Martin on Thursday, May 22, 2003
Two sorts of standards

After writing my little bit of wisdom (below) about standards in e-learning, I came across a short article about programming standards by Jim Waldo of Sun. He argues that standards often "curtail innovation and reward bad behaviour" and distinguishes between two sorts of standards. He likes descriptive standards that merely "codify what is already common practice in the industry... perhaps ironing out some minor inconsistencies along the way" but is dead set against de jure standards that are prescriptive and "an attempt to invent by committee".

posted by Martin on Tuesday, May 20, 2003

I have always been attracted to non-purposive, poetic, trans-rational (er, whatever that means) forms of communication - if for no other reason than that they are so hard to do well, especially when it's a group effort. Here's a worthy attempt that may be semi-intelligible to (some) South Africans: bal-oog.

posted by Martin on Monday, May 19, 2003