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This paper investigates the re-design and evaluation of an existing anchored discussion system. The purpose of the re-design is to focus social construction of knowledge on relevant information from online academic texts. We developed three prototype software environments: teacher-based attention guidance, peer-oriented attention guidance, and control condition. The evaluation of the re-design involved a longitudinal quasi-experiment with two small groups of doctoral students. The control group had no access to attention guidance. Treatment group students initially received teacher guidance then switched to a peer scaffolded environment. Results show that teacher-based attention guidance helped treatment group students to select relevant information and discuss it with higher quality interaction patterns. Moreover, when treatment group students switched to peer-oriented attention guidance, they maintained focus on central domain principles and their interrelations. However, the socio-cognitive process for discussing the importance of candidate areas did not differ between peer-oriented attention guidance and control conditions.