I. Noguera, B. Gros

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (SPAIN)
In the design and support of tasks for collaborative knowledge building, research has being more focused on the technological development than on the pedagogical design. Authors like Öner (2008), Lund and Rasmussen (2008) or Mukkonen, Lakkala, and Hakkarainen (2005) have concentrated their research on techno-pedagogical design because they consider that the design of the tool affects the task, and assert that the use of technology must be supported, pedagogically, by the teacher. It means that technology can enhance teaching and learning if its accompanied with a pedagogical design. The aim of this research is to identify the pedagogical affordances required to design and support collaborative knowledge building tasks in virtual environments in order to obtain indicators.

We conducted a case study at the Open University of Catalonia in the Education and ICT Master, focusing our attention on two teachers. These teachers were experts in leading on-line courses with collaborative activities and had a long career in the field of CSCL. The first study was focused on how teachers design and support CSCL tasks and, the second, was based on the control exerted over the tasks. We collected data about the logged activities, the learning results, and also we obtained information through the teacher’s interviews and a students’ questionnaire. In this paper we present the analysis of the information collected through the interviews.

As a result of the investigation we characterized the type of tasks that promote collaborative knowledge building, the teachers’ role and functions in supporting these types of tasks, and we identified different stages in task regulation (i.e. how to distribute control among teacher and students). We concluded that:
- the tasks that promote collaborative knowledge building are complex, open, and authentic; they require interdependence, involve different points of view, promote the development of a collective learning product, and are based on real life.
- Teachers have to provide management tools for collaboration, guidance, help in planning and organization; they must also promote a positive attitude among students toward collaborative learning, dynamize the discussions, encourage participation, and remain visible to students (teaching presence).
- We distinguish four phases of control over the task: design, organization, execution and evaluation.
Finally, we propose a set of indicators in designing and supporting collaborative knowledge building tasks in online learning.

Lund, A., Rasmussen, I. (2008). The right tool for the wrong task? Match and mismatch between first and second stimulus in double stimulation. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 3 (4), pp. 387-412. Retrieved January 18, 2010, from
Mukkonen, H, Lakkala, M., Hakkarainen, K. (2005). Technology-Mediation and Tutoring: How do They Shape Progressive Inquiry Discourse? Journal of the Learning Sciences, 14 (4) pp. 527-565. Retrieved Ocotber 15, 2007, from
Öner, D. (2008). Supporting students’ participation in authentic proof activities in computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environments. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 3 (3), pp. 343-359. Retrieved January 10, 2010, from