University of Oulu

Malmberg, J., Haataja, E., Seppänen, T. et al. Are we together or not? The temporal interplay of monitoring, physiological arousal and physiological synchrony during a collaborative exam. Intern. J. Comput.-Support. Collab. Learn 14, 467–490 (2019).

Are we together or not? : the temporal interplay of monitoring, physiological arousal and physiological synchrony during a collaborative exam

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Author: Malmberg, Jonna1; Haataja, Eetu1; Seppänen, Tapio1;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-02-27


The coordination of cognitive and non-cognitive interactive processes contributes to successful collaboration in groups, but it is hard to evidence in computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). Monitoring is a metacognitive process that can be an indicator of a student’s ability to recognize success or failure in collaboration. This study focuses on how monitoring occurs in CSCL during a collaborative exam situation by examining how individual student contributions to monitoring processes are related to physiological synchrony and physiological arousal in groups. The participants were organized in four groups of three members each, and they wore sensors that measured their physiological activity. The data consist of video recordings from collaborative exam sessions lasting 90 minutes and physiological data captured from each student with Empatica 4.0 sensors. The video data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis to identify monitoring events. Students’ physiological arousal was determined through peak detection, and physiological concordance was used as an index for the students’ physiological synchrony. The individual and group level analysis investigated arousal and physiological synchrony in concordance with monitoring during the collaborative exam. The results showed that, in each group, each student contributed to joint monitoring. In addition, the monitoring activities exhibited a significant correlation with the arousal, indicating that monitoring events are reflected in physiological arousal. Physiological synchrony occurred within two groups, which experienced difficulties during the collaborative exam, whereas the two groups who had no physiological synchrony did not experience difficulties. It is concluded that physiological synchrony may be a new indicator for recognizing meaningful events in CSCL.

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Series: International journal of computer-supported collaborative learning
ISSN: 1556-1607
ISSN-E: 1556-1615
ISSN-L: 1556-1607
Volume: 14
Issue: 4
Pages: 467 - 490
DOI: 10.1007/s11412-019-09311-4
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.