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Developing mathematical theories of the physical world: Open Access research on fluid dynamics from Strathclyde

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The importance of structuring information and resources within shared workspaces during collaborative design learning

Nicol, David and Littlejohn, Allison and Grierson, Hilary (2005) The importance of structuring information and resources within shared workspaces during collaborative design learning. Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 20 (1). pp. 31-49. ISSN 0268-0513

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Abstract

This paper investigates how the organization or structure of information and resources in shared workspaces influences team sharing and design learning. Two groupware products, BSCW and TikiWiki, were configured so that teams could structure and share resources. In BSCW the resources were structured hierarchically using folders and subfolders whereas in TikiWiki resources were structured using interlinked wiki pages (like web pages). The results showed that the groupware technology used, the collaborative task set and opportunities to reflect all influenced the way teams structured resources and that well-structured resources facilitated team collaboration and design learning. The discussion focuses on the need to help students develop information literacy skills and on why asking students to structure resources might help develop their design expertise.