Enhancing non-task sociability of asynchronous CSCL environments

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Computers and Education, 2011, 57 (4), pp. 2535 - 2547
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While from a technological perspective Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) systems have been improved considerably, previous studies have shown that the social aspect of the CSCL is often neglected or assumed to happen automatically by simply creating such virtual learning environments. By distinguishing between students' non-task social interactions from on-task interactions, and through a content analysis, this paper demonstrates that non-task interactions do occur frequently in CSCL environments. Furthermore, by conducting a self-reported survey, the present study operationalizes non-task sociability of CSCL environments and determines factors that affect them. The findings from the survey revealed that the sense of cohesion and awareness about others significantly impact the non-task sociability of CSCL. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that the perception of self-representation and perception of compatibility affect the sense of cohesion and awareness about others and indirectly contribute to the perceived non-pedagogical sociability of the environment. The findings of this paper can be used in future research for investigating the relationship between the non-task sociability of CSCL and other CSCL factors. The study also provides the CSCL lecturers and facilitators with a conceptual model by which sociability can be explicitly addressed in their course planning and delivery processes. And finally, this study develops and validates an instrument that guides required changes in current CSCL systems to improve the non-task social functionality of the environment. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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