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This paper describes a computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) case study in engineering education carried out within the context of a network management course. The case study shows that the use of two computing tools developed by the authors and based on free-and open-source software (FOSS) provide significant educational benefits over traditional engineering pedagogical approaches in terms of both concepts and engineering competencies acquisition. The Collage authoring tool guides and supports the course teacher in the process of authoring computer-interpretable representations (using the IMS learning design standard notation) of effective collaborative pedagogical designs. Besides, the Gridcole system supports the enactment of that design by guiding the students throughout the prescribed sequence of learning activities. The paper introduces the goals and context of the case study, elaborates on how Collage and Gridcole were employed, describes the applied evaluation methodology, and discusses the most significant findings derived from the case study.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2007