Any bibliography about cooperative freedom has to include the article writen by its author, professor Morten Paulsen. Cooperative freedom is the theory presented in this article. It starts by referring three theoretical perspectives about distance education systems: Theories of autonomy and independence, Theories of industrialization, and Theories of interaction and communication. The theory of cooperative freedom is associated to the theory of autonomy and independence. It states that many students want individual flexibility and freedom, but they don’t necessarily want to be completely alone, searching as well for group collaboration and social unity, supported in computer mediated communication (CMC). This balance underlays the theory of cooperative freedom, which valorizes the six different freedoms distance learning systems allow, which are freedom of time, freedom of space, freedom of pace, freedom of medium, freedom of access and freedom of curriculum, as well as cooperation between students.
2. An interview with professor Morten Paulsen (Michael F. Shaughnessy Senior Columnist EducationNews.org)
This is an excellent reading for all of those who want to understand what cooperative learning is because it’s an interview with professor Morten Paulsen. In this interview, many subjects are discussed, like the difference between individual, cooperative and collaborative learning; a very interesting service for Learning Partners (described in the article: "Learning partner - opportunities for cooperation in distance learning") that received the international Baldic Award 2006 as the most innovative distance education development in the Baltic and the Nordic countries. Other concepts, as Transparency and Individual Progress Plans are also referred. Finally, professor Morten Paulsen talks about the importance of Web 2.0 in learning and mentions some interesting European projects in elearning.
3. Collaborative versus cooperative learning: a comparison of the two concepts which will help us understand the underlying nature of interactive learning (Ted Panitz)
This is an important article to establish the difference between two concepts that are frequently confused: collaborative and cooperative learning. A brief definition is presented at the beginning, as a starting point, according to which «collaboration is a philosophy of interaction and personal lifestyle where individuals are responsible for their actions, including learning and respect the abilities and contributions of their peers» and «cooperation is a structure of interaction designed to facilitate the accomplishment of a specific end product or goal through people working together in groups.» Then it describes what happens in classes centered in each paradigm, presenting also a theoretical approach to this subject.
4. The search for learning community in learner paced distance education: Or, 'Having your cake and eating it, too!' (Terry Anderson, David Annand and Norine Wark)
This report examines the challenges and opportunities for peer communication, support, and cooperation in online courses without losing the learner paced characteristics. It summarises interviews with teachers and course developers at Athabasca University, and telephone interviews with educators in institutions in Europe and the US. It presents also the opinion of students in undergraduate, learner paced courses at Athabasca University about the importance and the use of online interaction. This information is used to develop a set of recommendations that can be incorporated by other distance education institutions that want to combine the advantages of learner paced education and online community.
5. Having your Cake and eating it Too – Part Two (Terry Anderson)
Based on the Theory of Cooperative Freedom, this blog article continues the bibliography mentioned above and analyses the question of freedom in online courses and the problems that can be posed by the self paced learning, like procrastination. It shows that it’s important to establish dated interventions in self paced programming to afford interactive opportunities and to develop social capital and the opportunity for learners to engage in rich and supportive peer deliberations.
6. Supporting Peer Help and Collaboration in Distributed Workplace Environments (J. Greer, G. McCalla, J. Collins, V. Kumar, P. Meagher, J. Vassileva)
I consider this article a very interesting reading because it isn’t a theoretical document. It presents a practical application of the cooperative learning. This article describes a prototype system called PHelpS (Peer Help System) that facilitates workers in carrying out “life long learning”, in a world where organizations face constant change and the corresponding need for continual learning and renewal of their workers. PHelpS supports workers as they perform their tasks, offers assistance in finding peer helpers when required, and mediates communication on taskrelated topics. When a worker runs into difficulty in carrying out a task, he can use this system to find a peer helper and to communicate with him in this Computer Mediated Communication system. As far as I understood, this is a may that some organizations found to promote a meaningfull learning. It associates the FREEDOM of the worker to use this system only when he needs it and the COOPERATION of others so the organization as a all is able to achieve its goals. PHelpS is an interesting project because it facilitates the creation of extensive informal peer help networks, where workers help one another with tasks and opens up new research avenues for further exploration of AI-based computer-supported collaborative learning.
7. Relatório do Estado da Arte: Qualidade do E-Learning para PMEs Europeias: Uma Análise de Experiências de E-Learning em Pequenas e Médias Empresas (Edited by CECOA – Centro de Formação Profissional para o Comércio e Afins)
Like the previous bibliography reference, this document is a practical example of the use of elearning. The "Report on the State of the Art: Quality e-Learning for European SMEs - An Analysis of Experiences in E-learning in Small and Medium Business" presents the results of the partnership project "E-Learning Quality for SMEs: Guidance and Counseling " in identifying the effects and results, the challenges and barriers and the success factors as well as the costs and benefits of e-learning solutions in atttending the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The objectif was to analyze the experiences of e-learning in several countries, like Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. The conclusions show that SMEs have particular requirements and that the e-learning can be presented as an interesting and advantageous option in terms of refinement and improvement of skills, using real-life situations and self-learning contexts, as well as in terms of more competitive business results because it reduces costs and promotes higher levels of interaction and collaboration among workers.