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[Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration

Hi Helen,

To my reading modern distributed cognition, or at least distributed networks are central to interest in collaboration.  This is because in a distributed network there is no central storehouse of knowledge/expertise.  Each of the nodes in the network are equal and links are horizontal and bidirectional.  This leads to possibilities for individuals working together rather than working with each other.  If you go back to the original network designs by Paul Baran that started all this (and I know this is not a new idea in human thought - I think Mike and Yrjo's article outlines how this is tied to a long line of thought in a really interesting way) the centralized networks are dependent on a major hub so there is no need to work together.  The decentralized networks have a number of sub-hubs which allow for groups to work together but under the aegis of the local expert - perhaps cooperation?  The distributed network is set up so each node has links to three or four other nodes that they work with on an equal basis, creating possibilities for collaboration - but is it actually something different.


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Helen Harper
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 7:19 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration

I’m not sure where the notion of distributed cognition fits in here. Is it relevant? Has anyone done any work linking collaboration, distributed cognition and educational practice?


> On 19 Apr 2016, at 7:58 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> Perhaps the work of mike tomasello is relevant to this discussion. I 
> attach one article. Interesting title, too.
> mike
> On Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 8:32 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> Collaboration has a whole spectrum in many different directions. But 
>> I think the conflict is an essential part of collaboration. 
>> Collaboration is unity and difference. Both are required or there is 
>> no collaboration. The "conflict" may be trivial, but then the moment 
>> of collaboration is trivial as well. And the learning is trivial.
>> I take collaboration as essentially between distinct, i,e, mutually 
>> independent subjects. If two people who are clones of each other work 
>> together on the same task, since their every thought is identical 
>> there is no conflict. Equally two employees, for example, carrying 
>> out orders from the same boss, work together, I don't see this as 
>> collaboration. But these are trivial limiting cases. All 
>> collaborators have differences relevant to the task at hand, and 
>> unless it is just a routine division of labour (which I call 
>> cooperation), or conflict is forbidden or suppressed, there has to be some conflict, some ripple on the waters.
>> Andy
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> On 19/04/2016 1:01 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
>>> Hi Larry and Andy,
>>> This issue of commitment is a difficult one.  If I might bring in a 
>>> little bit of Mark Granovetter and Everett Rogers, marriage is a 
>>> strong tie relationships.  Individuals make a commitment to it, as 
>>> Larry says, so that the relationship is sustainable through even 
>>> adversarial conflict, or does not collapse at the first sign of 
>>> conflict.  But most collaborations, especially those that lead to 
>>> problem solving, are based in weak tie networks.  Do we want to say 
>>> that weak ties networks can only lead to cooperation.  Isn't there 
>>> something to collaboration that allows individuals without a prior 
>>> or even sustainable relationship to come together to create change 
>>> through evolutionary disagreement that does not engender conflict?  Is that collaboration or is it something else.
>>> Michael
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
>>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Lplarry
>>> Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 10:25 AM
>>> To: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>; eXtended Mind, Culture, 
>>> Activity < xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration
>>> Andy,
>>> This introduction of the image of marriage as the archetype of 
>>> collaboration certainly opens the concept of collaboration to 
>>> multiple aspects of *engaging conflict* or *managing conflict*.
>>> To say collaboration is (like) marriage carries us into a vast field 
>>> of shared (and conflictual) meanings.
>>> Interesting how this image opens towards the imaginal and then 
>>> travels to distinguishing ZPD from scaffolding.
>>> To move from co-operation towards collaboration (as marriage) is 
>>> moving towards notions of *commitment* and *determinate relations* 
>>> that remain always *open to change* but within a continuing commitment/collaboration.
>>> Marriage is a pregnant gestating image for engaging the concept of 
>>> collaboration. Marriage as socio-historically meaningful.
>>> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>>> From: Andy Blunden
>>> Sent: April 18, 2016 5:58 AM
>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration
>>> The field is rife with different definitions; I choose the set of 
>>> definitions which suit the overall concept I am developing. Can't do 
>>> anything about that! But the issue of
>>> *conflict* is absolutely essential. Any co-called collaboration in 
>>> which conflict is either suppressed or organised away is certainly 
>>> not worthy of the name.
>>> That said, conflict has the potential always to destroy a 
>>> collaboration, and at the same time can be moderated so successfully 
>>> that it is positively enjoyable. The archetype of collaboration is 
>>> marriage, so we all know what this is about. Managing conflict is 
>>> the most essential element of collaboration, but that includes encouraging it as well as moderating it.
>>> This issue has echoes of the ZPD vs "scaffolding" question.
>>> Andy
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>> On 18/04/2016 10:33 PM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
>>>> Hi Andy,
>>>> Thanks for your response.  I would like to put aside the issue of 
>>>> computers which I think is extraordinarily complex (are we talking 
>>>> about the Internet, or the Ethernet, or the Web, or Artificial 
>>>> Intelligence or Augmentation?  More and more I am feeling these distinctions are critical).
>>>> But your post does refer to issues I am struggling with.  There has 
>>>> been a lot of talk of the difference between cooperation and 
>>>> collaboration at a number of levels.  Right now I think I like 
>>>> Stephen Downes' distinction which is cooperation is engaging in 
>>>> community work for your own needs - so you never really give 
>>>> yourself up to the learning community, while collaboration involves 
>>>> actually creating a community.  Others I think see collaboration as 
>>>> the development of shared meaning while cooperation is simply 
>>>> (shared isn't the right word, right?) action towards a goal.  I think both to a certain degree reflect your thinking.
>>>> I am interested in the idea of conflict, which I think would be 
>>>> antithetical to PISA's conception of collaboration, they seem to be 
>>>> looking to cut down on conflict as much as possible.  It also seems 
>>>> to work against a number of uses of collaboration in the field of 
>>>> education.  Does Alfie Kohn talk about collaboration - what would he say about conflict.
>>>> So I'm thinking though these just working together visions of 
>>>> collaboration are missing that "something" and conflict, as 
>>>> counter-intuitive as it is to models of collaboration might make sense.
>>>> But what do we mean by conflict.
>>>> Is it conflict between members of the collaborative group or is it 
>>>> the abilities of the collaborative group to see conflict between 
>>>> their solutions and the realities of the world around them (I know, 
>>>> another loaded phrase).
>>>> We also have a tendency to see conflict of adversarial.  If there 
>>>> is one thing I think collaboration is, it is non-adversarial in 
>>>> nature.  So can ideas be in conflict without individuals raising 
>>>> those being adversarial with each other.  What if people are 
>>>> adversarial to each other and yet still work together to accomplish 
>>>> important things, or is this cooperation?  Or is these another 
>>>> concept that hasn't been defined, or perhaps I am not grasping?
>>>> The danger with PISA's definition is there is really no mechanism 
>>>> for change.  Should collaboration have a mechanism for change or innovation?
>>>> Thoughts running around my head.
>>>> MIchael
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu 
>>>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
>>>> Sent: Sunday, April 17, 2016 9:10 PM
>>>> To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>> Subject: [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 (/Arbeitsgegenstand/).
>>>> 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 closer collaboration.
>>>> 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?
>>>> Andy
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>> On 18/04/2016 6:38 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
>>>>> Hello all,
>>>>> 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.
>>>>> https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/Draft%20PISA%202015%20Colla
>>>>> bor a tive%20Problem%20Solving%20Framework%20.pdf
>>>>> Michael
> --
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an 
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch <Tom.cooperation.pdf>