Evren Eryilmaz

Evren Eryilmaz

AREA OF RESEARCH: Computer Supported Collaborative Learning
WEBPAGEs OR BLOGs: http://evreneryilmaz.com

What draws you to this area of research?

The recognition of the importance of social construction to learning has grown rapidly as work becomes more knowledge-based, interdisciplinary, and complicated. Perhaps one of the most important facets of this phenomenon is the precise nature of how students move from seemingly divergent perspectives to collaborative knowledge construction. This is clearly a social process in which individuals attempt to discover a new understanding of the unlearned subject matter through reflection, negotiation, and co-construction of meanings. My research stems from the premise that social construction of knowledge is more powerful for communication in written form because successful conveyance of meaning requires a fuller elaboration when done without immediate feedback from a colleague as in oral communication. The rapid advances in the capabilities of and access to technologies provide new educational opportunities to support a group of students in constructing domain specific knowledge. However, the pressing problem in computer support for collaborative learning is that the type of interaction necessary for truly conversational modes of learning is often lacking in practice because students often do not naturally engage in constructive interactions productive for learning. Therefore, I have embarked on a research to understand how students use computer-mediated communication tools to facilitate their collaboration and how these tools shape the way students interact. The overarching goal of my research is to advance knowledge about joint meaning making activity in computer supported collaborative learning and design tools to engage students in meaningful processing of the learning material.

Would you like to collaborate?


Areas for collaboration (research studies, publishing, conference presentations, etc.)

I would love to collaborate with fellow research students or faculty who are interested in conducting research on online learning conversations. I would be interested in publishing an article, conference paper, or panel talk.

Would you say your research is Transdisciplinary?


My research examines collaborative learning as a process of knowledge construction. Due to this phenomenon’s complexity, I can not expect one theoretical approach to explain the kinds of interactions that lead to learning and whether these are supported by my information technology oriented interventions. Thus, my research adopts a transdisciplinary approach to assess the extent to which learning occurs from participating in online discussion. My transdisciplinary research perspective has the following contributions for the disciplines involved. First, I will contribute to educational studies by shedding light on how different interaction activities in a collaborative discourse influence learning. Second, I will contribute to cognitive psychology by analyzing and testing whether the reduction of extraneous cognitive load (interaction costs) is accompanied by an increase in germane cognitive load (constructive interactions). Finally, I will contribute to the field of information systems and technology by improving online collaborative knowledge construction environments and providing an understanding of the unique affordances for collaboration offered by artifact-centered discourse systems.

Publications / Presentations

  • Eryilmaz, E., Van der Pol, J., Clark, M. P.,  Mary, J., Ryan, T. (2010). Understanding the Paradox of Mental Effort in Online Learning Conversations, Proceedings of  the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2010) December 12-15, 2010, Saint Luis, Missouri
  • Eryilmaz, E., Van der Pol, J., Kasemvilas, S., Mary, J., Olfman, L. (2010). The Role of Anchoring Discussion in Mediating Effective Online Interaction for Collaborative Knowledge Construction, Proceedings of Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-43) January 5-8, 2010, Kauai, Hawaii (Nominated Best Paper) [pdf]
  • Eryilmaz, E., Alrushiedat, N., Kasemvilas, S., Mary, J., Van der Pol, J.  (2009). The Effect of Anchoring Online Discussion on Collaboration and Cognitive Load, Proceedings of  Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS 2009) August 6-9, 2009, San Francisco, California [pdf]
  • Eryilmaz, E., Cochran, M., Kasemvilas, S. (2009). Establishing Trust Management in an Open Source Collaborative Information Repository: An Emergency Response Information System Case Study,  Proceedings of Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-42) January 5-8, 2009, Waikoloa, Hawaii [pdf] [cited by]
  • Leroy, G., Eryilmaz, E., Laroya, B. T. (2006). Health Information Characteristics, AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings, 479-483 [pdf] [cited by]

Future goals as a scholar

After finishing my dissertation project and completing the degree, I am interested in working at a research oriented institute as a tenure track professor or continuing the future research directions of my dissertation as a post-doctoral fellow.

Must-read books or articles in your field

I would like to answer this question with Dr. Terry Ryan’s following comment on the first day of my first research methods class:

To get the most from a Ph.D. in IS&T, one must participate in the community of IS&T research.  This means that one must understand what other IS&T researchers expect of research.  The good news is that a broad range of efforts—from quantitative to qualitative, from technical to behavioral, from theory generating to theory testing—have been accepted as IS&T research in recent times.  The bad news (perhaps) is that anyone who wishes to be an IS&T researcher must be able to conduct and comment on research of many different types.  

In regards to my specific research area, I would recommend the following articles:

  • Suthers, D. (2006). Technology affordances for intersubjective meaning making: A research agenda for CSCL. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning 1(3): 315-337.
  • Van der Pol, J., Admiraal, W., & Simons, P. R. J. (2006). The affordance of anchored discussion for the collaborative processing of academic texts. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 1(3), 339-357.

Helpful resources at CGU

The writing center has been the most helpful CGU resource for me during my publications. I am also grateful to timely feedback of the hard working IRB office members.

Helpful resources outside of CGU (blogs, websites, social networking sites, etc. that connect with your areas of research)

Additional comments

CGU truly offers wonderful transdisciplinary research opportunities. Within CGU, I collaborate with Dr. Mary Poplin in School of Education and a fellow doctoral student, Justin Mary, in the applied cognitive psychology major of the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences. Outside CGU, I collaborate with Dr. Van der Pol from Universidad Obierta de Catalunya in Spain.