COMPUTER SUPPORTED COLLABORATIVE LEARNING TOOLS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR THE E-LEARNER

D. Cooshna-Naik

University of Mauritius (MAURITIUS)
Advances in technology have brought about changes in the way learners communicate and collaborate with each other. Within an online learning context, learners are expected to learn, communicate and collaborate with each other using various asynchronous and synchronous tools.
In a traditional teaching and learning setting, students meet face-to-face and discuss with each other or with the teacher. However, in an online learning setting, it is important that they develop online communication and collaborative skills through the use of specific Computer Supported Collaborative Learning tools.

For this study, a group of learners from an online BSc Educational Instructional and Technology programme delivered at the University of Mauritius has been chosen. It consists of presenting their experiences with regards to the use of online communication and collaboration tools in the context of a learning activity which was set in one of the learning modules. The paper will present the learning activity, and the main computer supported collaborative tool that learners were brought to use, namely ‘Voicethread’.

Furthermore, surveys and analysis of the discussion forums will allow us to discuss to what extent and for what purposes asynchronous and synchronous tools such as the chat, email and discussion forums were used by the learners to fulfill the objectives of the activity and to support their learning. It will also discuss the opportunities and challenges of using the ‘Voicethread’ tool in co-constructing meaning and knowledge within an e-learning context.