Collaborative Representations

The Collaborative Representations project explored ways to design interactive software in which learners can easily collaborate online while learning with rich representations. The project also studyied how the representations themselves may be designed to guide learners into knowledge-building discourse, a continuation of our Representational Guidance research agenda. Software for online learning was developed in collaboration with teachers and scientists to help ensure suitability for instructional objectives. Controlled experiments were undertaken to refine the software design and to assess the effects of the representations on discourse processes and on learning outcomes. Instructional and assessment strategies were developed in the context of authentic research projects involving students, teachers and scientists, and were disseminated to teachers through professional development activities. Continued work in this area will contribute to a scientifically tested theory of representationally rich collaborative learning, and inform the design of the next generation of software and associated instructional and assessment strategies for online learning.

Collaborative Representations was funded by NSF CAREER Program,
2001-2006, grant #0093505.

This work is being continued with graduate students and colleagues.

Major Publications

(See also publications for the Representational Guidance project, of which this is a continuation.)

Dwyer, N. & Suthers, D. D. (2006).
Consistent practices in artifact-mediated collaboration. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (ijCSCL), 1(4), pp-pp 481-511.

PDF (via Springer Open Choice)

Medina, R., & Suthers, D. D. (2009).
Using a contingency graph to discover representational practices in an online collaborative environment. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 4(3), 281-305.

Medina, R., Suthers, D. D., & Vatrapu, R. (2009).
Representational practices in VMT. In G. Stahl (Ed.), Studying Virtual Math Teams (pp. 185-205). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Suthers, D. D. (2006).
Technology affordances for intersubjective meaning making: A research agenda for CSCL.International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (ijCSCL), 1(3), 315-337.


Suthers, D. D. (2008).
Empirical studies of the value of conceptually explicit notations in collaborative learning. In A. Okada, S. Buckingham Shum & T. Sherborne (Eds.), Knowledge Cartography (pp. 1-23). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Suthers, D. D., Dwyer, N., Medina, R., & Vatrapu, R. (2009).
Exposing interactional processes in online learning. In K. Kumpulainen, C. E. Hmelo-Silver & M. César (Eds.), Investigating Classroom Interaction: Methodologies in Action (pp. 121-144). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Suthers, D. D., Dwyer, N., Medina, R., & Vatrapu, R. (2010).
A framework for conceptualizing, representing, and analyzing distributed interaction. International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, 5(1), 5-42.

Suthers, D. D., Vatrapu, R., Medina, R., Joseph, S., & Dwyer, N. (2008).
Beyond Threaded Discussion: Representational Guidance in Asynchronous Collaborative
Learning Environments.
Computers & Education 50(4), 1103-1127. (This was accepted in2006 but C&E has a serious backlog.)