Familiar problems re‐visited: the cooperative aspects of an e‐learning environment

Susan Turner (School of Computing, Napier University, Edinburgh, UK Email: s.turner@napier.ac.uk)
Phil Turner (School of Computing, Napier University, Edinburgh, UK Email: p.turner@napier.ac.uk)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 25 September 2007



This paper sets out to highlight conclusions from computer‐supported cooperative work (CSCW) research, which are relevant to e‐learning environments, in this case, WebCT.


The paper analyses the CSCW literature and identifies the main findings relating to the use and acceptance of collaborative technologies. These findings are applied to the analysis of 65 free‐form accounts of the use of WebCT obtained from student users in a higher education institution.


The challenges to cooperative work tools widely demonstrated within the CSCW research community since the early 1990s are alive and well in the context of e‐learning technology more than ten years later. In particular, there is strong evidence of discrepancies in benefits for different stakeholders, the need for a critical mass of users, and problems with lack of fit with social norms.

Research limitations/implications

Conclusions are based on computing students from one institution, but there is no reason to believe that the sample is atypical.

Practical implications

The conclusions identify a need for stakeholder involvement in the introduction of e‐learning environments in the tradition of participative design.


The paper brings well‐established findings from the CSCW community to the e‐learning domain.



Turner, S. and Turner, P. (2007), "Familiar problems re‐visited: the cooperative aspects of an e‐learning environment", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 91-99. https://doi.org/10.1108/17415650780000306

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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