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Jun Chen, Independent Research Proposal

Research Question

How can technology enhance collaborative learning in college education?


Collaborative learning is an important supplement to individual learning in college education. In collaborative learning, students learn not only the subject itself but also how to collaborate with people, which is very valuable for their future work. As a technology designer, I am especially interested in how we can design technology to enhance the collaborative learning. To be more specific, how can we design technology to make collaboration happen if it is not happening, or to make it better if it is happening? The reason I choose college education is that I have access to such an environment. Collaborative learning in college education is a very big research topic since it happens in various forms. To make the size of this independent research reasonable, in this research, I plan to focus on how students collaborate to learn in a specific class (e.g. CSCI 1200). I may consider both in-class collaboration and out-class collaboration. It depends on how it goes.

Questions to Explore

  • What kind of collaboration is useful in such a class?
  • What is the current status of collaboration among students?
  • What are the major barriers for collaboration, such as motivation, social support and technical support?
  • What kind of technology can support collaborative learning?
  • What kind of technology can promote collaborative learning?

Research Methodologies

  • Literature survey - books, conference papers, and existing systems/media
  • Questionaire and interviews
  • Group discussion

P.S. I am personally very interested in the topic of collaborative learning. I also have some other thoughts about it, such as the social factors, agents and new media. If you are also interested in it, I will be more than happy to discuss with you and re-organize the proposal.

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