Academic journal article Journal of Information, Information Technology, and Organizations

Computer Supported Collaborative Learning and Social Creativity: A Case Study of Fashion Design

Academic journal article Journal of Information, Information Technology, and Organizations

Computer Supported Collaborative Learning and Social Creativity: A Case Study of Fashion Design

Article excerpt


Computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is regarded as being a powerful pedagogical process to promote social creativity (Arias, Eden, Fisher, Gorman, & Scharff, 2000; Fischer, 1999; Kvan, Yip, & Vera, 1999; Lipponen, 2003; Mulder, Swaak, & Kessels, 2002). A computer supported environment allows space for bringing different points of view and resources together to create design communities in which social debate and critique, discussion and reflection, and collaborative knowledge construction can lead to new insights, new ideas, and new artifacts. In this study, an initiative was undertaken to create CSCL opportunities and experiences using Blackboard Learning System ML[C] as an avenue for creative design, self-reflection, as well as ongoing peer critique and sharing. Participants were learners undertaking Bachelor Degrees who were assigned a fashion design project.

In this study the focus is an exploration of how the communicative practices in the CSCL environment promote social creativity. Studies investigating this aspect are scarce in recent literature. The study places emphasis on the interplay between collaborative creation of design sketches and argumentation/negotiation, as well as how design sketches that are created mediate discussions and argumentation and feed into new ones. The study also investigates to what degree characteristics of artifacts in the CSCL environment facilitate creative interactions. Using this platform, an attempt is made to derive an innovative content analysis model to identify creative processes and co-construction of creative knowledge that is taking place in the CSCL environment.

Literature Review

Social creativity is defined as a sociocultural process in which novel and appropriate products are developed. It is evidenced not only in a few outstanding individuals but is also perceived as a generic capability that can be fostered in every individual.

Csikszentmihalyi (1999, p. 314) sees creativity as a social construct that is the result of an "interaction between the producer and the audience". Creative activity grows out of the relationship between an individual and the world of his or her work, as well as from the ties between an individual and other human beings. Much human creativity arises from activities that take place in a social context in which interaction with other people and the artifacts that embody group knowledge are important contributors to the process. Creativity does not happen inside a person's head, but in the interaction between a person's thoughts and a sociocultural context (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). Creativity is seen as a social construct (Saunders & Gero, 2001) or communal judgment (Gardner, 1993), where the creative individual is considered not in isolation but in interaction with an environment of physical and social dimensions. Creativity is defined by a set of complementary processes including adoption of a solution by a population, nomination by specialists or gatekeepers and colleague recognition (Sosa & Gero, 2004). By this way of thinking, attributions of what is creative are relative and grounded in social agreement.

It is argued that creativity can be fostered and developed in individuals within learning communities as creativity development is viewed as a transactional process that involves active transformation of individual, environment, and the sociocultural world. Creativity development is a process that involves doing, not acquiring (Barab & Duffy, 2000; Sfard, 1998). In this manner, creativity is a social entity, one that is both socially produced and socially validated (Dewey, 1938). Clearly, at some level creativity development involves the transformation of the individual. However, similar to Gibson's (1986) ecological description of effectivities, creativity development involves the transformation of the individual in relation to the contexts through which the individual transformation is realised. …

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