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[Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration
"Collaboration" is a big word in my universe, Michael, so
I'll offer some observations.
Collaboration as "together working" means specifically
working together to a common object (aim). That generally
entails working together to change an object-of-labour
There is a lot of discussion about the difference between
Collaboration and the etymologically identical Cooperation,
much of this is in the "educational debate." As I see it,
Collaboration essentially involves both cooperation and
conflict. Conflict is also one form or aspect of
collaboration, because the parties are working towards two
opposite concepts of the same object. "Object" here
therefore has a slippery meaning. It can mean the
/Arbeitsgegenstand/, the object worked upon, or the
Gegenstand, the object aimed for. Both ideas incorporate the
possibility of difference.
Collaboration essentially involves the coming together of
distinct parties (or subjects). True Collaboration involves
a merging of the subjectivities for the course of a single
project, but there are "limiting cases" of non-collaborative
collaboration. These include an exchange of labour governed
by a negotiation of a contract (such as customer-service
provider in which the subjects retain their mutual
independence throughout) and command-and-obey (in which one
subject is subordinated to another).
Cooperation does not imply conflict within the working
relationship usually because there is a division of labour;
Collaboration on the other hand involves each party taking a
critical attitude towards the contribution of the other
party. o conflict is an essential ingredient to Collaboration.
Collaboration is a learning process, to the extent that one
could argue that learning can *only* be a Collaborative
process. So Collaboration means that the object (aim) of the
labour changes, because the /concept /of the object changes.
Collaborators learn about the object (worked upon) in the
process of working on it, and the object (aim) by realising it.
In education there has been an unfortunate development in
which (1) students work independently because they are
physically or organisationally distant, (2) Collaboration
between the students is then facilitated by the use of
computer and communication equipment, (3) Students who are
already face-to-face are obliged to introduce a computer
between them so that their collaboration, instead of being
face-to-face, mediated only by the /Arbeitsgegenstand/, they
now find their Collaboration mediated by a computer. That
is, "Collaboration" has come to mean the undermining of
Collaboration by the use of Collaborative tools to avoid
And this is the danger. The education bureaucracy has heard
a bit about the benefits of Collaboration as a learning
process, and that Collaboration requires equipment. So they
get the idea that they have to separate students or
researchers from one another so that they can collaborate.
Once separated the bureaucacy can provide equipment to allow
students to Collaborate notwithstanding their having been
separated from one another. And the same goes for
students+teachers, research+industry, management+workers, etc.
Does that help, Michael?
On 18/04/2016 6:38 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
I have a question for anybody who might be willing to respond. How do you define collaboration? What spurs this question is that PISA is developing a framework for testing collaboration internationally. At first I thought I was getting punked, but it really is happening, the framework is at the link below. The idea of collaboration is being used more and more - especially in contexts that involve computer/web based research, but it often times seems to be a placeholder. The word only came into vogue late nineteenth century I think - col meaning together and labore meaning to labor. A lot of people who discuss collaboration invoke Vygotsky (e.g. the PISA framework) or sometimes Dewey (Although I am kind of sure Dewey never actually used the word collaboration, but I might be wrong). Anyway the PISA document defines collaboration but in a very simplistic way I think so that it is not wrong but not helpful. I know there was some research around language (being able to
create shared meanings). But so far to me it seems to miss the point, but I can't think what I would replace it with. I guess you could call this a request for comments. I find PISA creating a test for collaboration kind of dangerous.