Designing for Networked Collaborative Discourse: An UnLMS Approach

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Description: Supporting collaborative discourse with discussion forums in a typical Learning Management System (LMS) remains challenging. This article reports on a design case of an “unLMS” approach, which aimed to devise a networked learning environment not based on an LMS for collaborative discourse in an online course. To support such discourse, four design principles were proposed based on the literature and then used to guide technological and pedagogical designs. Following the principles, a networked learning environment was configured by harnessing emerging technologies of open textbooks, web annotation, and team communication. The designed environment was piloted in the online course. A survey was distributed at the end of the course to investigate student perceptions of the design. Student perceptions of the environment was overall positive in terms of usefulness and ease of use, despite several suggested refinements to improve the tool integration and to personalize student discourse experiences.

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