[DANCE] kickoff summary and next steps

Oliver Ferschke ferschke at cs.cmu.edu
Thu Jan 29 14:26:55 EST 2015

Dear DANCE Partners,

Last Friday, we hosted our first online brainstorming session.  11 members were present for the synchronous discussion session, and others have joined in to make contributions to the google doc.  If you were not able to attend, please feel free to check out the google doc to catch up on what we discussed and to make your own contribution.


Currently we are in a vision setting phase.  Eventually we will settle on a joint vision and make concrete plans for moving forward with actual design and development.  The end goal is to contribute extensions for collaborative and discussion based learning to the Open edX platform. The good news is that we have some financial reserves that can be invested in the development effort going forward here at CMU once we settle on a vision.  So what we need to accomplish in the short term is getting organized for consensus building so we can move forward with development possibly over the summer or in the early fall.

The three major subcommunities represented at the first meeting were core members of the CSCL community, MOOC platform providers, and MOOC researchers at universities.  We all introduced ourselves and talked about ways our own work connects with the broader vision.  The discussion was productive, laying a foundation for moving forward.  However, what we’re concerned we missed at this first meeting was representation from instructors, instructional designers, and developers.  Our goal is to be grounded on one side by practical concerns and the other by cutting edge research questions.  So our plan is to move forward with two parallel threads.
In the first thread, we will start working on scheduling a follow-up online brainstorming session, working hard to include the voices that were not able to be present for the first meeting.  And the second thread will be to move forward to flesh out some of the ideas that came up by forming interdisciplinary small groups to continue the discussion in focused directions in much more depth.  Three substantive thrusts came out of Friday’s vision setting meeting:

(1) Introducing affordances for Knowledge Building in MOOCs, possibly in MOOCs aiming to support design learning (inspired by work on the Knowledge Forum) [Led by Jianwei and Bodong], https://docs.google.com/document/d/1K1jAjhRx526GBdYhqj0OGJbnsAzPsa_DLEtxQj83F8s/edit?usp=sharing

(2) Introducing script based support to enhance collaborative processes in online discussions (inspired by work on Script Based Collaboration) [led by Frank, Karsten, and Jan-Willem],  https://docs.google.com/document/d/190ZWu4mC4HuedUerU5ouv59FiRYDut-FHzJFQVJY68k/edit?usp=sharing

and (3) Enhancing mobile learning – what would discussion on the go look like? [Led by Philippe].  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1J1WuxETdWq9qjv5gjICqFkOeakslH15yGebJavVpzOY/edit?usp=sharing

We’d like to see interdisciplinary representation in each team in order to achieve a grounding in prior research, support for future research, and practical affordances to course development and real world impact in the short term.  Others of you not mentioned by name so far have cross-cutting interests and abilities, and we’d like to see which of these you’d like to contribute to.  We’d ideally like to see a combination of Educational Psychologists, Education researchers, Computer scientists (including both researchers in component fields of machine learning, language technologies, architectures, etc. and developers), Instructors, and Instructional Designers.  Please follow the links to the google docs for each thrust to see the summary of related discussion from the meeting and to respond to specific prompts to flesh out the proposal.

We are excited to partner with you in this.

Best wishes,
Oliver and Carolyn

More information about the DANCE-all mailing list