Title: Supporting open-ended discourse with transparent groupware

Authors: Miikka Miettinen, Jaakko Kurhila, Petri Nokelainen, Henry Tirri

Addresses: Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, P.O. Box 9800, FIN-02015 HUT, Finland. ' University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science, P.O. Box 68, FIN-00014, Finland. ' Research Centre for Vocational Education and Training, University of Tampere, P.O. Box 229, FIN-13101 Hameenlinna, Finland. ' Nokia Research Centre, P.O. Box 407, FIN-00045 Nokia Group, Finland

Abstract: Web-based learning communities need tools that provide specific support to their progressive and open-ended efforts. The paper starts with an overview of some fundamental principles and phenomena underlying the activities of learning communities, and suggests openness and transparency as two crucial requirements for effective tools. In particular, learning communities should be enabled to utilise any available information sources effectively and engage in artifact-centred discourse. We introduce a system called OurWeb, describing both its current features and a number of ideas for improvement. We also report our experiences from a university course, where a group of computer science students worked like an expert community using OurWeb.

Keywords: learning communities; collaborative annotation; awareness; social navigation; web based communities; open-ended discourse; groupware; openness; transparency; computer science; e-learning; online learning; Finland.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2006.008612

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2006 Vol.2 No.1, pp.17 - 30

Published online: 11 Jan 2006 *

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