Validating an Observation Protocol for Structured Roles in Cooperative Learning

Morgan M. Fong, Liia Butler, Hongxuan Chen, Geoffrey L. Herman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This Research Full Paper presents an observation protocol to explore group processing in cooperative learning. Use of structured roles, such as Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) and pair programming, can help facilitate cooperative learning and help courses scale to large classroom sizes, decrease attrition and failure rates, and improve student performance. Our observation protocol was created to capture how groups work together in online, POGIL-inspired activities. A team of graduate student researchers developed the observation protocol for a variety of courses by observing three different computer science courses during the Spring 2021 semester. A total of 77 groups across all three courses were recorded, and percent agreement using a subset of the recordings suggested good interrater reliability (91.29%). We also extend a previous equality metric to quantify the rates of student participation, and found that it offered good differentiation between groups where one student contributed the most and groups where students contributed equally. We present example applications of our observation protocol related to general participation trends, the kinds of contributions students make, student-student bonding, and help-seeking patterns. Finally, we discuss future directions for use of our coding scheme as well as implications for implementing structured role-based cooperative learning online in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2022 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2022
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781665462440
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2022 - Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: Oct 8 2022Oct 11 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Conference2022 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2022


  • computer science
  • cooperative learning
  • observation protocol
  • online learning
  • undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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