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Article of Volume 1, Issue 1, March 2006

A relational, indirect, meso-level approach to CSCL design in the next decade

Authors: Chris Jones, Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Berner Lindström

Abstract: This paper reviews some foundational issues that we believe will affect the progress of CSCL over the next ten years. In particular, we examine the terms technology, affordance, and infrastructure and we propose a relational approach to their use in CSCL. Following a consideration of networks, space, and trust as conditions of productive learning, we propose an indirect approach to design in CSCL. The work supporting this theoretical paper is based on the outcomes of two European research networks: E-QUEL, a network investigating e-quality in e-learning; and Kaleidoscope, a European Union Framework 6 Network of Excellence. In arguing for a relational understanding of affordance, infrastructure, and technology we also argue for a focus on what we describe as meso-level activity. Overall this paper does not aim to be comprehensive or summative in its review of the state of the art in CSCL, but rather to provide a view of the issues currently facing CSCL from a European perspective.

Keywords: CSCL, Networked learning, Affordances, Infrastructure, Meso-level, Ethics, Indirect design

Citation: Jones, C., Dirckinck-Holmfeld L. & Lindström, B. (2006) A relational, indirect, meso-level approach to CSCL design in the next decade. ijcscl 1 (1)

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-006-6841-7

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF jones_holmfeld_lindstroem_1_1.pdf

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Errata: The affiliation for C. Jones was incorrectly printed. He is at the Open University and his email is The following reference was inadvertently dropped: "Lefebvre, H. (1991). The Production of Space. Oxford, Blackwell."