Assignment Two:
Literature Review of a CSCL System

CS 4670/7467: CSCL
Professor Amy Bruckman
Format:Double spaced, 12 pt. font
Approximate Length:20 pages
Percentage of Grade:35%
Team size:One to three people, all undergrads or all grads

In this assignment, you will do a literature review on one of these CSCL systems:

(Two names means the project changed names mid-way through. Your assignment includes both the old and new work.)

First, start by creating an annotated bibliography of work on the project. List each paper written about it, and write a short summary of the main point (from a sentence to roughly one or two paragraphs). Hand this in as an appendix to your main paper.

Some papers you will be able to find online. For others, you will need to go to the library. Ask a librarian for help where you are having difficulty. There may be some that you are unable to get copies of; note that on your bibliography.

As you read, it's OK to skim some papers if they seem quite similar to others. (It's common practice in the field to publish the same thing over and over with only minor additions/changes.)

If you find a very large number of papers, it's fine to stop after you've covered a large number of them. Certainly 25 papers per team member is plenty--don't try to do more than that. Someone working alone is expected to cover a lot less than a group. But try to make sure that you pick representative papers.

Now write your paper.

  1. Overview: What is the project? Who is involved? What have they done?
  2. Results: What are their key research findings?
  3. Plan for the future: Suppose you were hired a post-doc to work on this project. What would you do next? Identify key research questions that remain unanswered and what you would do to try to answer them. In your plan, define what resources you would need to do so. It's fine to assume that you will hire several students and research scientists to aid in your effort.

If you worked as a team, at the end of your paper describe who did what.

Do not contact people working on the project. More than one project team may do this assignment this term, and it will likely be done again in future terms. We can't bother them with lots of questions. And anyway the point of the assignment is to understand what they've accomplished through their publications.

You may try out any software they have accessible online.

With your midterm paper, please:

Separate teams working on the same project may share lists of papers, and copies of those papers. However, please write your own summaries.


In your papers, make sure that you show me that you understand the educational theory you have read. You will be graded on these criteria:

For each of these criteria, you will receive either a plus, check, or minus. A check means "good job--you have met the expectations of the assignment." A plus means "you impressed me." A minus means you did not fully satisfy the assignment in this respect. Roughly speaking, each plus moves you up one step from the starting grade of half way between an A- and a B+, and each minus moves you down. All assignments in this class will be graded with this method.

If English is not your first language, you may request an exemption from being graded on your writing. Note this on your paper when you hand it in. This means that you both can not be penalized for bad writing nor get extra credit for good writing.

The suggested length is approximate. Don't worry if it ends up a bit short or long, and please don't play with formatting to try to make it look longer or shorter. Just please don't make your paper more than double the suggested length.

Late papers will be penalized on a sliding scale depending on how late it is.