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Electronic Collaborative Learning Architecture: Spanning Time and Distance in Professional Development PROCEEDINGS

, , Ohio University, United States

EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology, in Seattle, WA USA ISBN 978-1-880094-35-8 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


The Ohio University College of Business has been using problem-based learning
approaches to instruction for the last 13 years. In March of 1997, the MBA Without Boundaries
program was launched as a distance offering using a project-based action learning format.
Participants progress through the program as a cohort and work on nine projects over the course
of two years. Participants come to campus for 4 to 8 days between projects for debriefing on the
project just completed and to be introduced to the next project.
Participants work in teams of four or five using Lotus Domino as the conferencing system for
conducting their work. Faculty members monitor the participant work and offer two types of
commentary. First, there are infrequent coaching comments offered if a team is seen to be
particularly bogged down – coaching focuses on the problem-solving tactics and group processes
being employed. Second, faculty members offer project reviews offered to the entire class. This
is a “how is the class doing” perspective – commenting on similarities and differences in both
strategies and the products that are being produced.
In this paper we will present an overview of the program and then focus on two issues: 1)
instructor coaching and feedback and 2) participant interaction using Domino. Goals, alternative
strategies, and problems in providing feedback will be discussed, with particular attention to the
difficulty of balancing the felt need to “teach” the participants when they encounter difficulties
with the goal of maintaining learner ownership. Participant conferencing strategies and the
protocols they develop will be discussed. Both samples of their conferencing and data from
interviews with the participants will be presented. For both participant conferencing and faculty
coaching we will pay particular attention to how the strategies evolve across projects.


Milter, R.G. & Stinson, J.E. (1999). Electronic Collaborative Learning Architecture: Spanning Time and Distance in Professional Development. In B. Collis & R. Oliver (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 1999--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 376-381). Seattle, WA USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).