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Strijbos, Jan-Willem and De Laat, Maarten F. (2010): Developing the role concept for computer-supported collaborative learning. An explorative synthesis. In: Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 26, No. 4: pp. 495-505 [PDF, 1MB]

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The role concept has attracted a lot of attention as a construct for facilitating and analysing interactions in the context of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL). So far much of this research has been carried out in isolation and the focus on roles lacks cohesion. In this article we present a conceptual framework to synthesise the contemporary conceptualisation of roles, by discerning three levels of the role concept: micro (role as task), meso (role as pattern) and macro (role as stance). As a first step to further conceptualise ‘role as a stance’, we present a framework of eight participative stances defined along three dimensions: group size, orientation and effort. The participative stances – Captain, Over-rider, Free-rider, Ghost, Pillar, Generator, Hanger-on and Lurker – were scrutinised on two data sets using qualitative analysis. The stances aim to facilitate meaningful description of student behaviour, stimulate both teacher and student awareness of roles at the macro-level in terms of participative stances, and evaluate or possibly change the participation to collaborative learning on all levels.

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