Developing and evaluating a collaborative research tool

Grant type: Development (2000-08)
Round: June 2002
Amount awarded £4,975.00
Completed: May 2004
Leader(s): John Grey
Organisation: University of Sunderland
Contact Email:
Alberto Basile
East Durham and Houghall Community College
Caroline Walker and Alan Gleaves,
Sunderland University
Graeme Blench
North Tyneside College
Start Date: 1 October 2002
End Date: 30 May 2003
Interim report received: 18 November 2008
Final report received: 18 November 2008

This project arises out of our interest in the development of ICT-based tools and ways of working that might support authentic (Taylor 1991) collaborative work. We are particularly interested in uses of ICT that might allow students and tutors to adopt research-based approaches to teaching and learning in which the focus of activities is on the exploration of personally and professional relevant issues.

This work is concerned with the deployment and evaluation of a web-based collaborative tool that aims to allow students to discuss and develop ideas from the literature. The system provides the means for users to contribute to an on-line database of bibliographic material that will be available to all other users. Users are able to annotate and comment on material in the database and importantly, such comments are then visible to other users, enabling the development of a dialog about material. In addition the system provides a means for users to organise references into personal folders.

A strength of this system is that it will provide a facility for genuine collaboration between students and tutors across a number of institutions. It is this wider, cross-institutional, use that this project will develop and evaluate.