Using Epistemic Synchronization Index (ESI) to Distinguish Gifted and Regular Students’ Knowledge Elaboration in CSCL Poster
Author(s): Ning Ding (Hanze University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands), Marca Wolfensberger, (Hanze University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands)
Higher-order thinking is important for problem-solving in Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) (Weinberger & Fischer, 2006). So far, very little research is able to capture the dynamic progress of the evolvement of individual epistemic engagement in CSCL. Questions such as how to distinguish the knowledge elaboration process between gifted and regular students remains a black box. This research aims at exploring a new research method to track students epistemic engagement during online collaborative problem-solving in higher education.
Based on three cognitive modes from Kumpulainen and Mutanen (1999), a coding system to measure students’ epistemic engagement was developed and termed as “Elaboration Values” referring off-task (value=-1), on-task (value=0) and elaboration (value=+1) activities (Ding, 2009; 2010).
The current study was conducted in a university in The Netherlands. Two female bachelor students participated in seven online collaboration sessions, solving statistics problems in an online text-only chatting room. Each online communication message was coded into Elaboration Values. We developed a series of equations to arrive at an Epistemic Synchronization Index (ESI). The value of ESI ranged from 0 to 1. The smaller ESI, the more symmetrical of students’ epistemic engagement.
Doing so helped researchers to (1) distinguish whether gifted students contribute more higher-order thinking into problem-solving, (2) how their epistemic involvement is different with that of regular students in CSCL, and (3) how the learning partner is influenced by the higher-order thinking of gifted students. The method of ESI may shed light on a deeper understanding of the knowledge elaboration process of gifted students.