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The Potential of Jigsaw Role Playing to Promote the Social Construction of Knowledge in an Online Graduate Education Course

by John Lebaron & Diane Miller - 2005

Many online courses fail to promote the active construction of student knowledge or camaraderie among student peers. Accordingly, online course designers and instructors are challenged to promote purposeful peer student dialogue and establish a sense of belonging where all learners perceive themselves as stakeholders in the course community. Online role playing is not a common activity, and electronically networked jigsaw role plays appear to be rarer still. In this article, we describe the transition of a face-to-face jigsaw role-play exercise to a primarily asynchronous graduate-level online course in education. Data collected from various sources suggest that students enjoyed online role play and valued it as a learning experience. We conclude with reflections, lessons learned, and future plans as we continue to explore the challenges and benefits of online role-play in graduate level online courses that serve adult professionals.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 8, 2005, p. 1652-1674
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12091, Date Accessed: 9/27/2020 4:28:48 AM

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About the Author
  • John Lebaron
    University of Massachusetts
    JOHN LEBARON is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Massachusetts. His primary research interest stems from his online teaching, examining methods that promote peer community building and the student construction of knowledge, especially in international settings. Recent publications include Technology in Its Place: Successful Technology Infusion in Schools (Jossey-Bass) and “Rhetoric and Reward in Higher Education: How the Pillars of Tradition Impede Academic Reform and What Might Be Done about It” (Revista Portuguesa de Educação).
  • Diane Miller
    Aptima, Inc.
    E-mail Author
    DIANE MILLER is a senior human systems engineer at Aptima, Inc. Her primary research interests focus on the design challenges associated with collaborative systems and computer-based learning environments. Related work includes www.ctaresource.com, an online community of practice for those interested in cognitive task analysis; Skills Training for Advanced Reading (STAR), a computer-based reading tutor prototype for improving reading comprehension in adults; and Game-Augmented Training and Education (GATE), an advisor tool for instructional designers. Recent publications include “Launching a Community of Practice through an Online Seminar Series” (in Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2002, Denver, CO).
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