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Article of Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2009

The joint organization of interaction within a multimodal CSCL medium

Authors: Murat Perit Çakir, Alan Zemel, Gerry Stahl

Abstract: In order to collaborate effectively in group discourse on a topic like mathematical patterns, group participants must organize their activities in ways that share the significance of their utterances, inscriptions, and behaviors. Here, we report the results of a ethnomethodological case study of collaborative math problem-solving activities mediated by a synchronous multimodal online environment. We investigate the moment-by-moment details of the interaction practices through which participants organize their chat utterances and whiteboard actions as a coherent whole. This approach to analysis foregrounds the sequentiality of action and the implicit referencing of meaning making—fundamental features of interaction. In particular, we observe that the sequential construction of shared drawings and the deictic references that link chat messages to features of those drawings and to prior chat content are instrumental in the achievement of intersubjectivity among group members’ understandings. We characterize this precondition of collaboration as the co-construction of an indexical field that functions as a common ground for group cognition. Our analysis reveals methods by which the group co-constructs meaningful inscriptions in the dual-interaction spaces of its CSCL environment. The integration of graphical, narrative, and symbolic semiotic modalities in this manner also facilitates joint problem solving. It allows group members to invoke and operate with multiple realizations of their mathematical artifacts, a characteristic of deep learning of mathematics.

Keywords: Group cognition, Interaction analysis, Dual-interaction space, Ethnomethodology, Indexicality, Mathematics education, Text chat, Visual reasoning, Common ground, Joint problem space

Citation: Çakir, M. P., Zemel, A. & Stahl, G. (2009) The joint organization of interaction within a multimodal CSCL medium. ijcscl 4 (2), pp. 115-149

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-009-9061-0

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF cakir_zemel_stahl_4_2.pdf

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