Distributed mentoring: peer interaction and collaborative learning in P2PU.
In: Open ED 2010: Seventh Annual Open Education Conference, 2-4 November 2010, Barcelona, Spain.
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This paper explores how learning design and peer behaviour develops and evolves in a free, open online learning community, the Peer-to-peer university (P2PU). Drawing on ideas relating to 'participatory learning' (Seely-Brown and Adler, 2008), it begins with a theoretical discussion of the ways in which the infrastructural and the social dimensions of peer learning are expressed in terms of the design of three courses, and in relation to mentoring and peer interaction. Evident from the textual interface and social organization of the three courses is that the role of the instructor or course organizer adheres a cooperative model (Burge, 1994), reflected in the aggregation and filtering of materials and the evolution of pedagogical modeling. While the models of participation and engagement vary, depending on socio-technical factors, evident is that the governance model allows both for light models of involvement and the evolution of inquiry towards what we would like to call 'distributed' mentoring. We conclude with an evaluation of the ways in which the courses under study promote a participatory infrastructure, that not only can make the process of learning transparent, but also represent a relationship between teaching and learning in an open fashion.
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