Productive Multivocality in the Analysis of Collaborative Learning. Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Chicago, IL, USA. June 28 - 29 2010. A preconference event of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences
We have many applicants to this workshop, but space is still
available for basic participation, and for analyst or discussant
roles in special cases. We accept applications through April 19th,
but encourage immediate application for those who want to be considered for non-basic participation roles.
This workshop brings together researchers from diverse theoretical and methodological traditions who have a mutual interest in how productive discourse between these traditions can drive scientific progress in understanding and designing for collaborative learning. In this workshop, multiple analyses of shared datasets will explore the conditions for productive multivocality in the analysis of collaborative learning. The workshop will culminate in planning a book on the topic.
The target participants are researchers from the Learning Sciences (LS) and Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) communities interested in the analysis of collaborative learning interactions, including learning theorists, pedagogues, research methodologists and tool-builders. We will solicit datasets and draft analyses from participants to achieve a good balance of learning settings, theoretical orientations and methodologies. Researchers may participate in any of the following roles:
* Data presenter and analyst: Presents an overview of a data set and an analysis
* Analyst: Presents an analysis prepared in advance of one of the above data sets
* Discussant: Identifies conditions for productive multivocality in the presented analyses
* Basic Participant: Participates in general discussion that follows the above
Participants in the first three roles may contribute chapters to the follow-up book. Proposals for those roles are due March 15th, and will be notified March 30th. Additional proposals for Analyst roles may be accepted later if these positions are not filled. Proposals for basic participation are accepted on a first-come first-served basis.
Researchers in the LS and CSCL communities take diverse approaches to the study of how interaction leads to learning. This multivocality is a strength only to the extent that there is sufficient commonality to support dialogue between the "voices" and reach some degree of coherence in the discourse of the field. In other scientific fields, common objects such as instrumentation, data sources, analytic methods, etc. enable researchers to replicate or challenge results in a manner that drives scientific progress. The Learning Sciences are too diverse (theoretically and methodologically) for unification to be possible or desirable, but learning scientists would benefit from "boundary objects" that form the basis for dialogue between theoretical and methodological traditions applied to the analysis of learning in and through interaction. The question at hand is what constitutes effective boundary objects and how they may be leveraged.
The present workshop continues the trajectory of a series of prior workshops. At ICLS 2008 ("A Common Framework for CSCL Interaction Analysis"), we explored dimensions along which analytic efforts can be characterized, and attempted to identify a common framework that would enable comparison of analyses and building shared analytic tools. Confronted with the multivocality that makes such unification difficult, we shifted our focus at CSCL 2009 ("Common Objects for Productive Multivocality in Analysis") to identifying boundary objects supporting dialogue between different traditions. We found that multiple analyses of shared data sets provide a promising basis for dialogue. At the Alpine Rendez-vous 2009 ("Pinpointing Pivotal Moments in Collaboration"), we followed up by having researchers from different theoretical and methodological traditions analyze the same data sets to identify "pivotal moments" in collaborative learning. The definition of pivotal moments was purposefully left unspecified, providing a projective stimulus that drew out different researchers' assumptions and insights and leading to exciting comparative and integrative discussion. Different conceptions of pivotal moments were identified, but in all cases they provided good starting points for further analysis of how learning arises from interaction.
The ICLS 2010 workshop will culminate this series of workshops by further identifying strategies and boundary objects for productive multivocality that can be offered to the rest of the research community. The workshop is intended to meet several needs. First, we want to bring new researchers into this process as well as enabling prior participants to meet again. Second, we want to expand the data corpora in which our work is based. Third, we want to conclude this workshop with specific actionable planning towards a collaborative effort that will bring the insights we have gained to the Learning Sciences community, in the form of a book. The book will not be a volume of independent chapters: it will be a carefully woven artifact that deepens our multivocal discourse.
The first day of this workshop will follow a format that we have refined over the past two years and found to be highly successful.
We select data corpora to be representative of different learning settings and populations (e.g., seek diversity along the dimensions of primary/secondary/university populations, face-to-face and computer-mediated communication, synchronous and asynchronous interactions and different disciplines). We assign two analysts to each corpus and one discussant. The person providing the data will perform the first analysis. Each corpus is shared with the second analyst and the discussant (as well as other participants) well in advance of the workshop. In order to provide analysts with points of comparison without overly constraining them, we set a common objective. As before, we will ask analysts to identify the pivotal moments in the interaction with respect to students' learning, but inthis workshop we also ask analysts to go further by providing an account of how interaction led to pivotal learning moments, or how pivotal moments influenced subsequent interaction leading to learning.
In the workshop, the researcher providing the data will introduce that data and provide an analysis with respect to the given objective. A second researcher will present an analysis of the same data (prepared in advance of the workshop). Then a third researcher acting as discussant will compare the first two analyses (optionally bringing in their own analytic comments). We will choose these three persons to be diverse in theoretical orientation and to mix methodological approaches (for example, including qualitative interpretation and quantitative sequential analysis). The analysts' presentations will be focused on the analytic objective, while the discussant will compare analyses. A fourth researcher (one of the workshop organizers) will then act as meta-discussant, summarizing what we have learned from the foregoing with respect to the meta-analytic objectives of the workshop, namely: how can analytic multivocality productively inform our collective understanding of learning through collaboration, and what are the boundary objects that support this discourse?
From the standpoint of fostering collaboration and advancement in the field, a risk of workshops is that while connections are made and insights gained in a one-day yearly event, follow-up is inadequate. Often there is no follow-up, and sometimes when there is it consists of individuals each publishing their own piece (in a special issue or book) without continuation and deepening of the collaboration. Realizing this, and having done several of these corpus-focused comparative analyses, our next step is to work out the implications in more detail than is possible in a one-day workshop meeting. We are planning to produce a book consisting of a section for each of several corpora as well as introductory and reflection chapters. The sections of the book will follow the same format as the workshop (introductory chapters followed by several data focused sections each consisting of an introduction to the data, at least two analyses of that data, and synthesis of these analyses). The chapters will not be independent contributions, but rather will be woven together with empirical and theoretical dialogues and reflection on implications for the learning sciences. Therefore, we conclude this workshop with a second half-day in which we will agree on the structure and content of the book and assign follow-up activities towards its production. All persons who have actively participated in our workshops will be candidates for authorship or co-authorship of chapters of the book.
APPLYING FOR PARTICIPATION
Interested researchers should submit at least a two-page abstract to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15, 2010. (Late applications will be considered on a space-available basis.) The abstract should indicate which of the following types of participation is requested: basic, analyst, discussant, or data presenter and analyst. Organizers will choose a limited number of participants. Acceptance letters will be sent out by March 30, 2010.
Basic Participation: Basic participants should submit up to two pages summarizing their relevant prior experience, their objectives in participating in this workshop, a bibliography of relevant publications, and a relevant URL providing further information on the researcher's work. Analyst or Discussant: Researchers who wish to be selected as analyst or discussant should meet the requirements for Basic Participation (2-page abstract as explained above) and also submit up to two pages characterizing the analytic work they typically undertake, including theoretical assumptions, questions addressed, and methods used. Analysts will be expected to obtain the data from one of the accepted Data Presenters, analyze that data in advance of the workshop, and provide a draft of the analysis to discussants.
Data Presenter and Analyst: Researchers who wish to offer a data corpus should provide the information requested for Basic Participation and Analyst roles (as explained above) and also submit up to two pages summarizing the nature of the corpus and making the case that this data will serve the objectives of the workshop. We are particularly interested in data corpora that will be of interest to researchers from more than one theoretical or methodological tradition, and hence serve as a boundary object for multi-vocal discourse.
- Monday March 15th: Priority Deadline for Analyst, Discussant and Data Presenter/Analyst Participation Proposals
- Tuesday, March 30th: Applicants meeting priority deadline are notified. We will also inform interested parties of the data sets selected and solicit additional analysts if needed.
- Monday April 19th: Final deadline for additional Analysts and Discussants. Data Presenters are encouraged to share their data as soon as possible after this date.
- Monday May 3rd: Final notification for late applicants. Data presenters are requested to have shared their data with analysts by this date.
- Monday June 7th: Analysts make their analyses available to workshop participants, (including discussants, who can then prepare their commentary).
- Monday, June 28th: First day of workshop
* Part I: Introductions of workshop participants to each other. Overview of objectives, results of prior workshops, and plans for this workshop by workshop organizers
* Part II (after coffee): First corpus, including presentation of data, two analyses, one discussant, and one meta-discussant.
* Part III (after lunch): Second corpus, including presentation of data, two analyses, one discussant, and one meta-discussant.
* Part IV (after coffee): Synthesizing conclusions by meta-discussants and all participants. Orientation to plans for Tuesday.
- Tuesday June 29th: Second half-day of workshop
* Part V: Review analyses we have done in the prior as well as present workshop and what we have learned. Choose corpora to include in the book
* Part VI (after coffee): Assign analyst, discussant and meta-discussant roles for book; set timelines.