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Sensitivities to early exchange in synchronous computer-supported
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Paper presented at the 7th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), New Jersey, USA, 16 – 21 July 2007
This study reports the impact of high sensitivity to early exchange in 11th-grade, CSCL
triads solving well- and ill-structured problems in Newtonian Kinematics. Analysis of the
evolution of participation inequity (PI) in group discussions suggested that participation levels
tended to get locked-in relatively early on in the discussion. Similarly, high (low) quality member
contributions made earlier in a discussion did more good (harm) than those made later on. Both PI
and differential impact of member contributions suggest a high sensitivity to early exchange; both
significantly predicting the eventual group performance, as measured by solution quality.
Consequently, eventual group performance could be predicted based on what happened in the first
30-40% of a discussion. In addition to theoretical and methodological implications, implications
for scaffolding CSCL groups are drawn.
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