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Technology-mediated discourse refers to debates, discussions, and other social learning techniques involving the examination of a theme using technology. For example, wikis are a way to encourage discussion among learners, but other common tools include mind maps, survey systems, and simple message boards. Like collaborative writing, technology-mediated discourse allows participants that may be separated by time and distance to engage in conversations and build knowledge together. Group exploration refers to the shared discovery of a place, activity, environment or topic among two or more people.

Students do their exploring in an online environment, use technology to better understand a physical area, or reflect on their experiences together through the Internet. Virtual worlds like Second Life and Whyville as well as synchronous communication tools like Skype may be used for this kind of learning. Problem-based learning is a popular instructional activity that lends itself well to CSCL because of the social implications of problem solving.

Complex problems call for rich group interplay that encourages collaboration and creates movement toward a clear goal. Project-based learning is similar to problem-based learning in that it creates impetus to establish team roles and set goals.

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The need for collaboration is also essential for any project and encourages team members to build experience and knowledge together. Although there are many advantages to using software that has been specifically developed to support collaborative learning or project-based learning in a particular domain, any file sharing or communication tools can be used to facilitate CSCL in problem- or project-based environments.

When Web 2. Though the focus in CSCL is on individuals collaborating with their peers, teachers still have a vital role in facilitating learning. Most obviously, the instructor must introduce the CSCL activity in a thoughtful way that contributes to an overarching design plan for the course.

The design should clearly define the learning outcomes and assessments for the activity. In order to assure that learners are aware of these objectives and that they are eventually met, proper administration of both resources and expectations is necessary to avoid learner overload.

Once the activity has begun, the teacher is charged with kick-starting and monitoring discussion to facilitate learning. He or she must also be able to mitigate technical issues for the class. Lastly, the instructor must engage in assessment , in whatever form the design calls for, in order to ensure objectives have been met for all students.

Without the proper structure, any CSCL strategy can lose its effectiveness. It is the responsibility of the teacher to make students aware of what their goals are, how they should be interacting, potential technological concerns, and the time-frame for the exercise. This framework should enhance the experience for learners by supporting collaboration and creating opportunities for the construction of knowledge.

Students who are already comfortable with online communication often choose to interact casually. Mediators should pay special attention to make students aware of their expectations for formality online. Ideally, teachers provide what is called "scaffolding", a platform of knowledge that they can build on. A unique benefit of CSCL is that, given proper teacher facilitation, students can use technology to build learning foundations with their peers.

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This allows instructors to gauge the difficulty of the tasks presented and make informed decisions about the extent of the scaffolding needed. According to Salomon , the possibility of intellectual partnerships with both peers and advanced information technology has changed the criteria for what is counted to be the effects of technology. For example, the changed quality of problem solving in a team. And he means the word "effects of" more lasting changes that take place when computer-enhanced collaboration teaches students to ask more exact and explicit questions even when not using that system.

Though CSCL holds promise for enhancing education, it is not without barriers or challenges to successful implementation. Obviously, students or participants need sufficient access to computer technology. Though access to computers has improved in the last 15 to 20 years, teacher attitudes about technology and sufficient access to Internet-connected computers continue to be barriers to more widespread usage of CSCL pedagogy.

Furthermore, instructors find that the time needed to monitor student discourse and review, comment on, and grade student products can be more demanding than what is necessary for traditional face-to-face classrooms. The teacher or professor also has an instructional decision to make regarding the complexity of the problem presented. To warrant collaborative work, the problem must be of sufficient complexity, otherwise teamwork is unnecessary. Also, there is risk in assuming that students instinctively know how to work collaboratively.

Though the task may be collaborative by nature, students may still need training on how to work in a truly cooperative process. Others have noted a concern with the concept of scripting as it pertains to CSCL. There is an issue with possibly over-scripting the CSCL experience and in so doing, creating "fake collaboration". Such over-scripted collaboration may fail to trigger the social, cognitive, and emotional mechanisms that are necessary to true collaborative learning.

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There is also the concern that the mere availability of the technology tools can create problems. Instructors may be tempted to apply technology to a learning activity that can very adequately be handled without the intervention or support of computers. In the process of students and teachers learning how to use the "user-friendly" technology, they never get to the act of collaboration. As a result, computers become an obstacle to collaboration rather than a supporter of it.

The advent of computer-supported collaborative learning CSCL as an instructional strategy for second language acquisition can be traced back to the s. During that time, the internet was growing rapidly, which was one of the key factors that facilitated the process.

During the establishment of wikis in the s, global research began to emerge regarding their effectiveness in promoting second language acquisition. Some of this research focused on more specific areas such as systemic-functional linguistics , humanistic education , experiental learning , and psycholinguistics. For example, in Yu-Ching Chen performed a study to determine the overall effectiveness of wikis in an English as a second language class in Taiwan. In this study, emphasis was placed on the level of grammatical accuracy achieved by the students throughout the course of the task.

Due to the continual development of technology, other educational tools aside from wikis are being implemented and studied to determine their potential in scaffolding second language acquisition. According to Mark Warschauer , among these are blogs, automated writing evaluation systems, and open-source netbooks. Studies in the field of computer-assisted language learning CALL have shown that computers provide material and valuable feedback for language learners and that computers can be a positive tool for both individual and collaborative language learning.

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CALL programs offer the potential for interactions between the language learners and the computer. Juan [44] focuses on new models and systems that perform efficient evaluation of student activity in online-based education. Their findings indicate that CSCL environments organized by teachers are useful for students to develop their language skills. Additionally, CSCL increases students' confidence and encourages them to maintain active learning, reducing the passive reliance on teachers' feedback. Using CSCL as a tool in the second language learning classroom has also shown to reduce learner anxiety.

Various case studies and projects had been conducted in order to measure the effectiveness and perception of CSCL in a language learning classroom. After a collaborative internet-based project, language learners indicated that their confidence in using the language had increased and that they felt more motivated to learn and use the target language. After analyzing student questionnaires, discussion board entries, final project reports, and student journals, Dooly [46] suggests that during computer supported collaborative language learning, students have an increased awareness of different aspects of the target language and pay increased attention to their own language learning process.

Since the participants of her project were language teacher trainees, she adds that they felt prepared and willing to incorporate online interaction in their own teaching in the future. Culture may be thought of as composed of "beliefs, norms, assumptions, knowledge, values, or sets of practice that are shared and form a system". CSCL environments are generally valued for the potential to promote collaboration in cross-cultural learning communities.

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Based on social constructivist views of learning, [49] many CSCL environments fundamentally emphasize learning as the co-construction of knowledge through the computer-mediated interaction of multivoiced community members. Online learning environments however tend to reflect the cultural, epistemological , and pedagogical goals and assumptions of their designers.

Students who have learned to learn in an Eastern context emphasizing teacher authority and standardized examinations may perform differently in a CSCL environment characterized by peer critique and co-construction of educational artifacts as the primary mode of assessment.

A "multiple cultural model" of instructional design emphasizes variability and flexibility in the process of designing for multicultural inclusiveness, focusing on the development of learning environments reflecting the multicultural realities of society, include multiple ways of teaching and learning, and promote equity of outcomes. Constructivist instructional design approaches such as R2D2 [62] which emphasize reflexive, recursive, participatory design of learning experiences may be employed in developing CSCL which authentically engages learners from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Dyslexia primarily involves difficulties with reading, spelling and sentence structure, transposition, memory, organization and time management, and lack of confidence. The Americans with Disabilities Act of ADA established that all students with disabilities must be included in all state and districtwide assessments of student progress. In recent years, tools such as WebHelpDyslexia and other capabilities of web applications have increased the availability of tools to provide coping skills for students with dyslexia.

In , Woodfine argued that dyslexia can impact the ability of a student to participate in synchronous e-learning environments, especially if activities being completed are text-based. In a study by Fichten et al. Tools such as spell check or text-to-speech can be helpful to learners with dyslexia by allowing them to focus more on self-expression and less on errors.

Alsobhi, et al. The proposed framework asks educators to make decisions based on perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, and system adaptability:. Educators that choose to use the CSCL environment must be aware of compliance and its legal implications. Unfortunately, not all educators are exposed to these guidelines, especially if their collegiate programs do not provide exposure to the use of computers, aspects of web design or technology in education. In some cases, it may be advantageous for the educator to collaborate with an instructional technologist or web designer to ensure guidelines are addressed in the desired learning environment for the CSCL.

The World Wide Web began as information sharing on static webpages accessible on a computer through the use of a web browser. As more interactive capabilities were added, it evolved into Web 2.