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Promoting University Students’ Collaborative Learning through Instructor-guided Writing Groups
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Higher Education, ISSN 1927-6044, E-ISSN 1927-6052, Vol. 2, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to examine how to promote collaborative learning among university students via instructor-guided writing groups. The research took place in Rwanda and was undertaken as a case study involving 34 second year undergraduate students, divided into 12 small working groups and one instructor. The data were collected by means of open-ended group interviews carried out after each of the 12 groups had finished writing an essay in English. In their responses, students acknowledged having improved their interpersonal and collaborative skills through writing groups. Students also indicated that, while discussing and interacting with their group members and with the support from their instructor, they improved their English, gained new ideas and perspectives, and learned better about text coherence. However, a small section of students did not appreciate working in groups while writing due to occasional internal disagreements and incompatibility between group members. Some strategies are proposed on how an instructor can help make group work a relevant and effective learning tool.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 2, no 3
Keyword [en]
Collaborative learning, Group work, Group writing, Higher education, Instructor-guided writing groups, Rwanda
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91279DOI: 10.5430/ijhe.v2n3p1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-91279DiVA: diva2:616781
Available from: 2013-04-18 Created: 2013-04-18 Last updated: 2017-12-06
In thesis
1. Understanding Group-based Learning in an Academic Context: Rwandan Students’ Reflections on Collaborative Writing and Peer Assessment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding Group-based Learning in an Academic Context: Rwandan Students’ Reflections on Collaborative Writing and Peer Assessment
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Att förstå gruppbaserat lärande i en akademisk kontext : Universitetsstudenter i Rwanda reflekterar över kollaborativt skrivande och inbördes bedömning
Abstract [en]

The overarching aim of the present thesis is to gain knowledge about how Rwandan university students understand and practice group-based learning. Specifically, this research takes a social constructivist perspective when examining how second year students within the area of Modern Languages reflect on collaborative writing and peer assessment as means to promote academic writing and active learning. Four studies make up this research. Thus, Study I examines how students carry out self-directed group work in writing. Study II investigates how instructor-guided writing groups can help promote students’ collaborative learning. Study III explores in what ways process writing as instruction method can help develop students’ academic writing abilities and Study IV focuses on how students experience peer assessment and peer feedback on group writing. The data, which are qualitative, were collected by means of interviews carried out with groups of students. The findings show that students perceive and conduct group-based learning in different ways, which can impact the quality of their learning. Also, based on initial support and guidance from the course instructor, most students acknowledged having been able to take stock of their common writing abilities and understand in what ways peer assessment and peer feedback can help them improve, and thus enrich their learning. A few students considered the common writing process time consuming though. In conclusion, some strategies are suggested to further improve group-based learning.

Abstract [sv]

Det övergripande syftet med denna avhandling är att söka kunskap om hur universitetsstudenter i Rwanda förstår och praktiserar gruppbaserat lärande. Teoretiskt utgår den från ett socialkonstruktivistiskt perspektiv med särskilt fokus riktat mot hur studenter inom ämnesområdet moderna språk reflekterar över kollaborativt skrivande och inbördes bedömning som ett sätt att främja akademiskt skrivande och aktivt lärande. Avhandlingen består av fyra studier. I studie I undersöks studenters reflektioner över hur deras självstyrda skrivande i grupp genomförs. Studie II belyser lärarens roll i lärarlett skrivande i grupp och hur det kan påverka studenters kollaborativa lärande. I studie III studeras på vilket sätt metoder som synliggör skrivprocessen kan stödja studenters utveckling inom akademiskt skrivande. Studie IV fokuserar hur studenter erfar inbördes bedömning av skrivande i grupp. Data består av kvalitativa intervjuer genomförda med grupper av studenter under deras andra högskoleår Resultaten visar att studenterna uppfattar och genomför gruppbaserat lärande på olika sätt vilket kan påverka kvaliteten på deras lärande. Givet ett initialt stöd och vägledning från läraren som grund, bekräftade de flesta studenterna att de i grupparbetet kunde utnyttja sin gemensamma skrivförmåga och förstå på vilket sätt inbördes utvärdering kan hjälpa dem att förbättra sitt skrivande och därmed berika deras lärande. Vissa ansåg dock att den gemensamma skrivprocessen var tidsödande. Avslutningsvis föreslås strategier som kan användas för att ytterligare förbättra ett gruppbaserat lärande.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 67 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 174
Keyword
Group-based learning, higher education, student-initiated groups, instructor-guided group work, collaborative writing, peer assessment, Rwanda, Gruppbaserat lärande, högre utbildning, studentstyrda grupper, lärarlett grupparbete, kollaborativt skrivande, inbördes bedömning, Rwanda
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91282 (URN)978-91-7519-633-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-05-14, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-04-19 Created: 2013-04-18 Last updated: 2013-05-06Bibliographically approved

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Mutwarasibo, Faustin

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