Michael Madaio, a Ph.D student in Human-Computer Interaction won the Best Student Paper Award in CSCL (International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning)!
Abstract: During collaborative learning, computer-supported or otherwise, students balance task oriented goals with the interpersonal goals of relationship-building; these goals may conflict, negatively impacting learning. In peer tutoring, for instance, tutors may avoid providing feedback to their partners to avoid the face-threat to their tutee. In this paper, we explore how the interpersonal closeness between tutor and tutee impacts tutors’ use of indirectness with feedback and instructions, and the impact those moves have on tutees’ problem-solving. We found that stranger tutors use more indirect instructions and provide more positive feedback to their tutee than friend tutors, and that stranger tutees attempted and solved more problems when their tutors used indirect instructions. We found no effect for dyads of friends, suggesting that interpersonal closeness reduces the face-threat of direct instructions. These results demonstrate that designers of CSCL tools should incorporate awareness of students’ relationships into their systems, as that relationship impacts students’ collaborative learning behaviors.