Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Lambert, SR, Collaborative Design Projects: Evaluating Students' Online Discussions, Integrate, Interact, Impact: Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE), Adelaide, Australia, 7–10 December 2003, 293-303. Copyright Lambert 2003. Original conference paper and copyright statement are available here


This paper reports on the author’s work to evaluate student online discussion, a learning tool used in a face-to-face graphic design subject centred around a collaborative design project. A modified teaching and learning model with new online resources was trialled with approx 45 undergraduate design students in session 1 of 2003. The 4 students in each project team were allocated a specific role based on contemporary design studio practice. An online discussion space was set up for each project team. A number of evaluation techniques were used including a content analysis of online discussion postings on which this paper focuses. Results show that, within the context of a collaborative task supported by clear team roles, the discussion space effectively scaffolded engagement, team development, communication, feedback and problem solving. While useful trends have been noted, the evaluation model used was not sufficient to explain variations to trends. The evaluation methodology needs to be modified for blended teaching model to include analysis of both face-to-face and online activity.