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Article of Volume 5, Issue 3, September 2010

S-COL: A Copernican turn for the development of flexiblyreusable collaboration scripts

Authors: Christof Wecker, Karsten Stegmann, Florian Bernstein, Michael J. Huber, Georg Kalus, Ingo Kollar, Sabine Rathmayer, Frank Fischer

Abstract: Collaboration scripts are usually implemented as parts of a particular collaborative-learning platform. Therefore, scripts of demonstrated effectiveness are hardly used with learning platforms at other sites, and replication studies are rare. The approach of a platform-independent description language for scripts that allows for easy implementation of the same script on different platforms has not succeeded yet in making the transfer of scripts feasible. We present an alternative solution that treats the problem as a special case of providing support on top of diverse Web pages: In this case, the challenge is to trigger support based on the recognition of a Web page as belonging to a specific type of functionally equivalent pages such as the search query form or the results page of a search engine. The solution suggested has been implemented by means of a tool called S-COL (Scripting for Collaborative Online Learning) and allows for the sustainable development of scripts and scaffolds that can be used with a broad variety of content and platforms. The tool’s functions are described. In order to demonstrate the feasibility and ease of script reuse with S-COL, we describe the flexible re-implementation of a collaboration script for argumentation in S-COL and its adaptation to different learning platforms. To demonstrate that a collaboration script implemented in S-COL can actually foster learning, an empirical study about the effects of a specific script for collaborative online search on learning activities is presented. The further potentials and the limitations of the S-COL approach are discussed.

Keywords: Collaboration scripts, Scaffolding, Collaborative learning, Web-based learning

Citation: Wecker, C., Stegmann, K., Bernstein, F., Huber, M.J., Kalus, G., Kollar, I., Rathmayer, S., & Fischer, F. (2010) S-COL: A Copernican turn for the development of flexiblyreusable collaboration scripts. ijcscl 5 (3), pp. 321-344

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-010-9093-5

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF fischer_5_3.pdf

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