Background and goals

In Swiss Higher education LMS (learning management systems) are accepted and widespread. However, for the time being, many LMS offer inadequate affordances for co-operation and, at the same time, lecturers and students use existing LMS-functions only to a limited extent for collaborative/cooperative learning (CSCL) and work (CSCW). To address this gap, the project examined current practices and needs, and, on this basis, elaborated three deliverables: (1) requirements, (2) scenarios and (3) functions for near-future co-operation. Requirements describe needs, problem statements, existing practices and proposed solutions as reported by the study participants. Each requirement forms the basis of one or more scenarios, i.e. concrete situations and contexts of use; functions are general criteria aimed at providing guidance for the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of co-operation software for its use in HE from the users’ point of view.

The analysis captured the users’ perspectives; i.e., the views of students, teachers/faculty; target groups which naturally raise pedagogic as well as practical issues regarding effectiveness and efficiency. The scope of the project comprised collaboration in the student life cycle, thus also paying attention to pre- and post-study phases. The results of this work package form the basis for subsequent activities in WP.1.2 (testing and selecting co-operation software) and WP 3.1 and 3.2 (piloting of collaboration scenarios).

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