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Journal Article

Improving Virtual Collaborative Learning through Canonical Action Research  pp326-338

Peter Weber, Christian Lehr, Martin Gersch

© Jul 2014 Volume 12 Issue 4, Editor: Dr Rikke Ørngreen and Dr Karin Tweddell Levinsen, pp313 - 410

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Abstract: Virtual collaboration continues to gain in significance and is attracting attention also as virtual collaborative learning (VCL) in education. This paper addresses aspects of VCL that we identified as critical in a series of courses named Net Economy: (1) technical infrastructure, (2) motivation and collaboration, and (3) assessment and evaluation. Net Economy is an international online setting, focusing on the business impact of new technologies and is highly notable for the divergent educational and cultural backgrounds of its participants. Having been subject to research from the onset in 2008, in which approximately 10 students were analysed and evaluated, the course has continued to gain significant success as a learning tool, wit h over 150 students currently enrolled throughout the various course cycles. In this paper we focus on how we implemented changes with regard to the above mentioned critical elements as part of canonical action research between the last course cycles. We outline the general learning scenario behind our VCL‑courses, describe problems that we identified with the help of evaluation results and explain solution approaches and the impact of their implementation. The paper aims to provide a comprehensive exampl e for virtual collaborative learning as well as explaining and exemplifying a systematic approach of improving complex e‑learning settings through a series of steps, developed to ease the transition between each stage.


Keywords: Keywords: Social Networking Services, Virtual Collaborative Learning, Virtual Team Work, Web 2.0, International Cooperation, Community of Inquiry Framework, CoI


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