Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using social networking to tap collective intelligence of online study groups

Date:
May 4, 2011
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Taking their cue from social media, educators have developed a social networking application called Classroom Salon that engages students in online learning communities that effectively tap the collective intelligence of groups.

Taking their cue from social media, educators at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a social networking application called Classroom Salon that engages students in online learning communities that effectively tap the collective intelligence of groups.

Thousands of high school and university students used Classroom Salon (CLS), http://www.classroomsalon.org/, this past academic year to share their ideas about texts, news articles and other reading materials or their critiques of each others' writings. With the support of the Next Generation Learning Challenges initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, CLS will be used in an innovative experiment at the University of Baltimore to see if it can help students who are in danger of failing introductory courses or otherwise dropping out of college.

"Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have captured the attention of young people in a way that blogs and online discussion forums have not," said Ananda Gunawardena, associate teaching professor in the Computer Science Department, who developed CLS with David S. Kaufer, professor of English. "With Classroom Salon, we've tried to capture the sense of connectedness that makes social media sites so appealing, but within a framework that that allows groups to explore texts deeply. So it's not just social networking for the sake of socializing but enhancing the student experience as readers and writers."

In CLS, class members can read assigned texts and then annotate them with online editing tools. These observations can then be shared with the group using CLS's novel interactive tools, which can highlight "hot spots" that spark discussion within a document, cluster similar comments and identify which comments are most influential.

"Studies show that people working in teams are able to arrive at better and more creative solutions than people working alone, and this is particularly true in reading and writing tasks. However, that collective effort is difficult to achieve in formal education settings," Kaufer said. "Class time is limited and most online course management systems tend to be driven by the instructor's questions. Classroom Salon, by contrast, makes possible more genuinely student-centered collaborative work."

All students can benefit from the kind of collective intelligence CLS makes possible, but Kaufer and Gunawardena suggest that at-risk students may benefit the most because CLS also can easily be used to personalize instruction for specific individuals and groups.

That idea will be tested in a new program, funded by a $250,000 grant through the Next Generation Learning Challenges initiative. Nancy Kaplan, professor and executive director of the School of Information Arts and Technologies at the University of Baltimore, working with collaborators at Carnegie Mellon, will combine CLS and materials developed for Carnegie Mellon's

Open Learning Initiative, http://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/, with traditional face-to-face instruction to create a sustainable social learning model.

The researchers will see if this new approach will help students at the University of Baltimore, an urban, open-admission institution where about half of the incoming students fail to graduate within eight years. Many are first-generation college students who attend part-time, come from low-income families, and require remedial math and writing courses.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Using social networking to tap collective intelligence of online study groups." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110503133203.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2011, May 4). Using social networking to tap collective intelligence of online study groups. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110503133203.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Using social networking to tap collective intelligence of online study groups." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110503133203.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins