Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Assessment of e-learners' temporal patterns in an online collaborative writing task

Virginie Demeure, Margarida Romero, Niki Lambropoulos


E-learners are generally adults with work and family constraints who get involved in the virtual campus looking for temporary academic flexibility. However, they are often confronted with collaborative learning activities which lead to additional organizational efforts by reducing their individual time flexibility. In this paper, we argue that time is a major variable in Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) activities, and that assessing students' use of time in these situations can help educational designers to propose adequate time scripting to plan these educational activities.

This case study presents an exploratory analysis of time patterns for 15 groups of students (n=66), involved in a collaborative writing task. The results reveal that (a), e-learners' time-on-task increased since the beginning of the activity, (b), they work more during week days than during weekends and (c), they tend to work during "conventional" hours of the day. The identification of these patterns is the first step toward the development of new methodologies and computer-supported tools to enhance organisation of time and social aspects in CSCL.

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