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Title: Designing within a computer-mediated communication environment : three studies into the potential of online learning environments for collaborative design work in international educational contexts
Author: Fraser, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 962X
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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Computer-mediated communication has become a common part of higher education and of designers' professional practice in the twenty-first century. This research sets out to investigate student-centred group enquiry-driven learning in a distributed environment. The aim is to examine how students and instructors interact in online learning environments in the conduct of online collaborative design work in international educational settings, and thus provide the basis for the identification of factors that contribute to successful online collaborative work in design education. Through the study of three examples of online collaborative design work, the research addresses the following specific questions: (i) how do distributed groups of students use synchronous and asynchronous interaction when seeking collaborative solutions to design problems? (ii) how do instructors use the facilities provided by an online collaborative environment in interacting privately and publicly with students and with each other? (iii) how do students handle the challenges of group dynamics and partnership in online collaborative group work? Together, addressing these questions enables design educators to develop an understanding of the ways in which the use of online collaborative work can be of particular benefit for design education, for instance in facilitating the forms of international and inter-disciplinary collaboration that lie at the heart of contemporary professional design practice. This practitioner research suggests that, in the hands of committed design teachers, technology can support innovations that will improve student performance, help students develop cognitive design skills and can introduce a real-world design context for student learning. The findings indicate that a balance between dynamic synchronous and reflective asynchronous engagement is critical in establishing successful online collaborative design environments. The importance of privacy issues in the space used by design students is another interesting finding that can inform restructuring of collaborative interfaces for future design education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available