chapter  13
15 Pages

Collaborative Knowledge Building

ByGreg Benfield and Maarten de Laat

Collaborative knowledge building has always been an essential practice of research communities, but the term has gained a new currency in relation to the activities of online communities, and is increasingly also applied to learning activities in formal settings that involve group work. Beneld and De Laat situate the debate about knowledge building in the context of a networked learning framework, and distinguish collaboration ‘on task’ from collaboration ‘around the task’ as having dierent social meanings for learners. In particular, they explore the in¸uence of surveillance in the ‘academic pantopticon’ of institutional learning environments, and learner perceptions of fairness. Drawing on insights from learners themselves, they consider how issues of surveillance and fairness can be addressed in group work situations, and conclude that learners will make use of their own technologies and social networks to share know-how, however formal learning tasks are constructed.