Collaborative Communication : A case study analysis of prosumer orientated environments in the digital educational space
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AbstractThis research study is an analysis of the intertwining concepts of collaboration, prosumption, and communication in the contemporary digital educational space. The major objective of this thesis is to understand the operationalisation of the collaborative production of free and open artefacts. For this purpose, a framework is established for investigating communication and interaction activities of the people involved and their usage of ICT supported communications. Three exemplary projects are then examined using this framework: Schulbuch-O-Mat, a pilot project in which an electronic OER schoolbook is created; Memrise, an online platform which offers a wide range of user-created learning courses in a variety of topics; and VroniPlag Wiki, a wiki in which dissertations are collaboratively examined in terms of plagiarism. Data for this study were collected in the form of a comparative multiple-case study using a mix of methods such as interviews, questionnaires, participant observation, and the analysis of documents. Using situational analysis, a comparative analysis was conducted in terms of the three main aspects of this study: prosumption, collaboration, and communications. The results show that a balanced mix of communication enabling tools and services facilitates high collaboration. It was also concluded that collaborative working procedures benefit from diverse ways to address participants. The obtained data support the view that less hierarchical structures simplify collaborations and prosumption. Further research should address the issue of digital labour and exploitation as well as the management of conflicts in prosumer orientated collaborations. As a further outcome, a system of categories was derived in the analysis part of this thesis. This categorisation system serves as a foundation towards an approach of analysing collaborative communication.