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"Peer Produced Peer Learning: A Mathematics Case Study"

Ph. D. thesis, The Open University, UK.

Supervisors: Dr Alexander Mikroyannidis and Professor Peter Scott

(PDF, 260 pp.)

(HTML, 19 slides)

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This research develops around a technological intervention intended to
transform a peer produced reference resource into a peer produced
learning environment. Through the work described in this thesis,
PlanetMath.org, an early online community devoted to mathematics, has
now become a mathematical practicum, and a laboratory for learning
science.*

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A new theory that describes the nexus of peer production and peer
learning is foundational for the research programme. In the course of
work, this theory was given a concrete instantiation in a new software
system for PlanetMath.*

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The candidate theory was developed during a pilot study based on
online field work at the Peer-2-Peer University. The new theory --
which is given the name "paragogy" -- has implications for
designers, researchers, educators, and others whose work relies on
peer learning and peer production.*

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Further research and development work in the PlanetMath context helped
to refine the theory.
A quantitative approach was employed to detect the factors of
interaction that influence learning outcomes, using legacy data from
PlanetMath.
A qualitative, interview-based approach was employed, to understand
the requirements of potential users of the new system. The software
model was implemented, based on these requirements, using Drupal and
other open source components.
Field work with PlanetMath users after the launch of the new system
employed an emergent design process to elaborate the theory and
develop a viable approach for further co-production.*

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Connections with game theory and the philosophy of mathematics help to
situate the new theory of peer learning within mathematical discourse,
and illuminate a rich horizon for future work.*