Supporting Collaborative Learning With An Intelligent Web-Based System
This research describes an Intelligent Collaborative Support System (ICSS) that supports a
collaborative effort by analyzing and modifying the collaborative process dynamically while employing a webbased interface. Based upon principles rooted in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) and Cooperative Learning (CL), this system extends the Group Leader paradigm to assist students working together in collaborative groups. Discussion skills are supported by examination of sentence openers chosen from a menu, keywords found in free-text sentence closers, student and group models, and historical database files. Groups are categorized and guided toward the optimal category of a highperforming cooperative group with positive interdependence. The use of the dialogue designated as creative conflict is mediated by an agent to assist in formulating a constructive discussion, serving as an instructional tool. Conflicts in the categorization of discussion skills exhibited in the sentence openers versus the sentence closers are resolved. Implemented in Java, the Group Leader module interacts with intelligent agents as it guides students working in groups remotely in the cross-platform environment provided by the Java Virtual Machine.
Keywords. Collaborative learning, communication skills, CSCL, dynamic classification