PhD ceremony: Mr. W. van Diggelen, 14.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Title: Changing face-to-face communication: collaborative tools to support small-group discussions in the classroom
Promotor(s): prof. H.G. Sol
Faculty: Economics and Business
The research describes the development and evaluation of two collaborative tools that are part of a digital learning environment. The collaborative tools support face-to-face discussions in the classroom. They offer the students an alternative medium for communication. Students use - in addition to their verbal interactions - the computer to communicate.
The research focuses on communication problems that students experience during a verbal discussion. These communication problems are related to the characteristics of human speech as medium for communication. A central view that underlies the tool design is that a medium for communication does not only determine what can be expressed and how, it also affects the behavior of the group as a system of interacting individuals. The use of a collaborative tool emphasizes that the digital medium stimulates certain behavior that has a positive influence on the learning processes.
The introduction of a digital medium for communication changed the behavior of the groups in several ways: students expressed their thoughts without being interrupted. Furthermore, students who hardly said anything verbally, frequently communicated digitally. Findings indicate that students are better able to share and discuss their knowledge with the group.
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