Globally distributed group projects are becoming an attractive and increasingly common feature in computer science education. They provide opportunities for students to engage in activities that enhance both their technical skills and wider professional competencies with concomitant benefits for graduate employability. There have been some previous attempts to investigate these projects in terms of theories of technology use and collaborative learning, and this paper continues this process by examining globally distributed group projects from the perspective of salient issues in the fields of computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). After detailing CSCW models that discuss the dimensions that characterise interaction and technology use in groups, we examine aspects of group learning from the perspective of theories of CSCL. Issues of cooperation versus collaboration, motivation for learning and models of group cognition are discussed in the context of two specific group projects. Analysis of these examples allows us to characterise behaviour within groups and provide insights that can facilitate the formation and effective development of project teams. This has important educational implications for the success of these distributed group projects.
MCDERMOTT, R., DANIELS, M., CAJANDER, A., BASS, J. and LALCHANDANI, J.P. 2015. A comparative analysis of two globally distributed group projects: a perspective from CSCW/CSCL research. In Proceedings of the 2015 Frontiers in education conference (FIE 2015): launching a new vision in engineering education, 21-24 October 2015, El Paso, USA. New York: IEEE [online], article number 7344344. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2015.7344344