Learning with MOOCs is a very individualistic way of acquiring knowledge. However, learners often engage in group learning practices by forming study groups with friends. The learners in these study groups meet regularly in university cafeterias, empty classrooms etc. to complete homeworks, solve exercises and to learn by discussing the concepts taught in the classroom. In addition, learning in a collaborative way has multifold advantages as compared to individual learning; as collaboration enables discussions and arumentations which play a crucial role in validating one’s knowledge (by explaining to others) and augmenting the existing individual knowledge by providing different perspectives to the same problem.
In MOOCollab, we bring together the affordances of collaboration and study groups to the MOOC context. MOOCollab is a collaborative environment which enables a group (4 to 5 individuals) to watch MOOC videos together and solve exercises in a collaborative fashion.
As shown in the figure above, MOOCollab is a Single Display Groupware (SDG) comprising of a mouse and a tablet (iPad) for each group member, as well as a public display. The public display consists of a collaborative video player which is used by the group to watch MOOC video lectures. Any group member can control (pause, go back, jump, etc.) the video by using her own mouse; which corresponds to a cursor in the color of the device color code on the public display. In addition, the tablets provided to the group members run an application which extends the functionality of a whiteboard which is shared among the group members and is synchronized across the different tablets. So, if a group member writes something on her tablet device, it is displayed instantly on other tablets in the color of the device color code of the user; thus differentiating the content generated by different users. Others can then add or supplement the existing content and thus building knowledge in a collaborative way.