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E-discussions Moderation Made Easier with the Argunaut Tool

Reuma De-Groot, The School of Education, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem,

Theme and goals

Facilitating the moderation of synchronous e-discussions is one of the challenges undertaken by today's CSCL community. The need to provide means for such facilitation in this context is twofold: on the one hand, these e-discussions (considered also as a classroom dialogue) are essential for learning and therefore their proper moderation is important; on the other hand, teachers are not used to facilitate e-discussions and, therefore, it is crucial to provide them with the proper means to do it.
The aim of the Argunaut project (IST-2005-027728, was to provide teachers and other moderators of e-discussions with a computerized tool and its associated pedagogical methodology to support and increase the effectiveness and thereby the quality of the monitored e-discussions (De Groot et al., 2007).  The Argunaut system can facilitate the simultaneous moderation of multiple e-discussion environments by helping the moderator understand what is going on in the discussions and, furthermore, allowing the moderator to intervene in a way that can enable better discussions without disrupting the peer interaction of the discussants.

Figure 1. Screenshot of the Moderator Interface (MI) of the Argunaut tool

During the six-month period April-September, 2008, we had the opportunity to use the tool with teachers in real classroom settings. This experience allowed us to understand the teachers' need for such tools in their daily work. Giving a first-hand account of this experience, and jointly reflecting on it, are the main purposes of the planned seminar.

Intended audience

Researchers, teachers and practitioners interested in having hands-on experience with the tool and in discussing its possible implementation in school settings and in work places.

Description of format of activities planned

During the seminar, participants will be able to use the Argunaut system to moderate e-discussions conducted through the Digalo tool (developed in the DUNES project - IST-2001-34153, in real time, as well as to review already concluded moderated discussions in replay mode.
The organisers will present some good examples of moderation of past discussions and teachers' feedback on the use of the tool in their classrooms.
After the hands-on experience we will have a guided discussion regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the use of such tools for teachers in classroom and in online lessons.
Directions for further research and implementation of these approaches and tools will be dealt with as well, if the participants so wish and time allows.

Expected outcomes

Enlarging the community of teachers and practitioners using the Argunaut tool as well as the research community studying moderation of e-discussions.
Expanding and enriching our understanding regarding the potential use of this tool for learning and teaching in real classroom situations.

Participation requirement

Normal use of computers.

Prior relevant experiences of organizers

Participation in and management of R&D projects, and implementation of its outcomes.  Working with Digalo, Argunaut and other CSCL tools with teachers in real classroom setting. Conduction of several teacher training cycles addressing these tools and supporting pedagogical methodologies.


De Groot, R., Drachman, R., Hever, R., Schwartz, B., Hoppe, U., Harrer, A., De Laat, M., Wegerif, R.,
McLaren, B. M., & Baurens, B (2007). Computer Supported Moderation of E-Discussions: the
ARGUNAUT Approach. In the Proceedings of the Conference  on Computer-Supported
Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2007)

Seminar Date: Tuesday Afternoon, June 9th, 2009