2013. Vol.4, No.9, 59-62
Published Online September 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/ce) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2013.49B012
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Education for Social Responsibility: The Use of CSCL in
Undergraduate Service-Learning Modules
Anchana Sooksomchitra, Prakob Koraneekij, Jaitip Na-Songkhla
Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Received July 2013
The purpose of the study was to develop an educational module for undergraduate student that effectively
supports a project-based learning, and to cultivate a sense of students’ social responsibility. The research-
er recognizes computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) as a powerful tool in supporting students
to share their meaningful learning activity and project. The tool can vastly and conveniently broaden the
students’ learning experience and facilitate different learning needs of individual student efficiently.
Keywords: Computer-Supported collaborative Learning (CSCL); Project-Based Learning;
Service-Learning; Social Responsib i l i t y; Social Consciousness
This article focuses on the development of social responsibil-
ity in students: its relevance and importance in modern day
society and how to achieve it. The main duties of an education-
al institution are to provide the best learning environment for its
students then encourage them to develop individually. To ac-
complish that, educators must also instill a sense of personal
and social responsibility as well as prepare the students to take
their place as active, responsible members of the global com-
munity who are aware of their own rights and fully respect
This article mainly focuses on the urgent need of a modern
day society to prepare the future citizen of a public mind who
will the country to a sustainable development. One of main
duties of an educational institution is to provide the best learn-
ing environment for students and encourage them to fulfill their
personal social spirits. To accomplish that, educators must in-
still a sense of social responsibility, and prepare students to take
place as active responsible members of a global community,
who are aware of their own rights and fully respect others’.
Service learning is a pedagogical approach that integrates
academic learning and community service. It offers an opportu-
nity for students to have hands-on experience with in-depth
knowledge; what they learn, they return back to the society.
While exploring the issues and needs of a community, the stu-
dents’ critical thinking, planning, and problem-solving skills
are enriched. This process encourages self- and independent
learning which in turn makes the knowledge more applicable
and meaningful to the students, enhances their sense of social
responsibility, and motivates them to become a lifelong contri-
buting and valued member of the society (Khammani, 2007).
An effective approach in this direction is through project-
based learning. In this model, students learn to actively and col-
laboratively research, think, organize, and come up with a prac-
tical, effective, and creative solution for a real-life situation.
The method requires them to appreciate their own forte, as well
as others’, in order to utilize it to its best potential. It also in-
creases their motivation to learn in addition to improving their
ability to communicate and adapt to accommodate other team
members (Pukiat, 2001).
To develop an educational module at the undergraduate level
that effectively supports project-based learning and cultivate a
sense of social responsibility in students, the researcher recog-
nizes computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) as a
powerful tool. CSCL is the use of computer technology to sup-
port a group of students working on a shared learning project or
activity. It can vastly and conveniently broaden the students’
learning experience and respond to different academic needs of
each student efficiently. By incorporating the aforementioned
key methods and tools into new and existing undergraduate-
level courses, educational institutions will certainly be provid-
ing students a lifelong knowledge and moral development that
keeps on benefiting both themselves and the society long after
the course has ended.
The Theoretical Framework
A theoretical framework is established by reviewing and
examining the existing literature and studies on all four key
concepts: education for social responsibility, service learning,
project-based learning, and computer-supported collaborative
learning (CSCL). Relevant information, variations, and theories
are then analyzed to draw connections and form the basis of
Concept 1: Education for Social Responsibility
A socially conscious individual values human rights and ac-
knowledges the importance of harmonious social interaction for
the developmental progress of human beings. Being socially re-
sponsible means that one is willing to help, contribute, and
even make personal sacrifices for the common good. It is dem-
onstrated through how one understands, addresses, and shows
attitude towards various social issues. Common social respon-
sibility practices include taking proper care of public property,
taking actions to preserve natural resources, actively participat-
ing in social-benefit and community projects, as well as being
A. SOOKSOMCHITRA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
constantly aware of current social situations and ready to work
towards a resolution.
In Thailand, there is an ongoing effort to instill social con-
sciousness within the society as evidenced in the National Edu-
cational Standards. An ideal Thai citizen, as a valued citizen of
the country and the world, is described as a moral, intelligent,
and happy person. The indicators used to identify such individ-
ual are: a good physical, mental and spiritual health; necessary
life knowledge and skill sets; an ability to acquire knowledge;
social skills; morality; integrity; and social responsibility (Na-
tional Education Act of B.E. 2542, 1999). The National Quali-
fications Framework for Higher Education in Thailand also
indicates that well educated graduates from a bachelor degree
program should consistently demonstrate honesty and integrity,
a high level of ethical and responsible behavior in academic,
professional, and community environments.
Thongtiew (2003) stated that the knowledge and understand-
ing profound enough to trigger the development of social con-
sciousness in students must be the one that they themselves
have come to realize. It cannot be taught or passed on in tradi-
tional teaching environments. This concept agrees with what
Paulo Friere (1973) purposed that in order to raise conscious-
ness, the learners must be given opportunities to think freely.
Through dialogue among peers, they recognize the situation in
community they belong, the reasons for it, and the possible
solutions. The learners, through this process, are more involved
in the real act of knowing rather than being given a ready-made
view of social reality.
Many scholars have explored the connection between educa-
tion and social responsibility or social consciousness (Werang-
korn, 2006). Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sakchai Nirantawee, for instance,
examined the Service-Learning Instructional Model used in
education curriculum development within the United States.
Various schools and universities have mandatory service learn-
ing programs for youth development where students actively
study and assess community needs, apply their academic know-
ledge into resolving identified issues, then reflect on their expe-
rience to reinforce the link between their service and their
Chareonwongsak (quoted in Sooksom, 2009) suggested that
social consciousness development in students of all levels by
integrating community-based projects into “an organized curri-
culum, both as mandatory programs or voluntary extracurricu-
lar activities.” The subject chosen for the programs should be of
public interest or yield the most impact in the broader commun-
ities, such as environmental conservation or community regula-
tion issues. Hengjareun also proposed that students will benefit
from “a wider variety of activiti es” that support individual learn-
ing as well as strengthen personal character and sense of social
Social responsibility, value of human rights and harmonious
social interaction, become one of the Thai Framework of Na-
tional Educational Standards, and are expected to be penetrated
to an educational system in such example approaches as peer
collaboration and dialog with community in a situated learning
environment with a project based activities.
Concept 2: Service Learning
Service learning is a pedagogical approach that provides
structured opportunities for students to learn, experience, and
apply their knowledge and skills in real-life situations. It re-
flects a belief that good education conduces to social con-
sciousness, and that students learn best when they can actively
and purposefully get involved (Wechayant, 2001). This defini-
tion is in line with Paulo Freire’s educational philosophy that
calls for students to have critical attitude and take constructive
action. It also corresponds to John Dewey’s Educational Pro-
gressivism and Pragmatism that emphasize the importance of
hands-on learning or experiential education.
The concept of experiential education, or the process that in-
fuses direct experience with the learning environment and con-
tent, is widely applied in curriculum development across the
globe. Numerous examples at all grade and levels have shown
that course activities can improve students’ academic achieve-
ments, and, conversely, the knowledge obtained through educa-
tional system contributes to the success of the activities and, by
extension, social development. This is what service learning is
In the United States of America, the National and Commu-
nity Service Act of 1990 became law. The legislation authorizes
grants to schools to support service-learning. It also authorizes
establishment of Learn and Serve America (LSA), and the Na-
tional Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC). Many federal
agencies, non-governmental organizations, and public initia-
tives were born not long after, including the Iowa Service-
Learning Partnership (ISLP); Learning in Deed: Making a Dif-
ference through Service Learning (LID); and the Social Invol-
vement through Education Service (SITES).
Across the Asian region, service-learning movements are
evidenced in many countries. Central Council for Education of
Japan has issued education guidelines to promote collaboration
among schools, families, and communities in order to let child-
ren experience and learn in cooperation with people in local
communities. In Singapore, the concept of service learning ap-
pears in the National Education policy that aims to develop
national cohesion; develop the awareness of facts, circumstanc-
es and opportunities facing Singapore; and to develop a sense
of emotional belonging and commitment to the community and
nation. This emphasis on collaborative working mirrors the
concept of “han” education system in Japan where each han
(group) eats, plays, and learns together. The han members are
given responsibility not just in extracurricular areas such as
cleaning and serving meals, but in lessons as well. Stronger
learners are expected to assist weaker members, or become ba-
nished. The entire program aims to promote equality and a
sense of community. Each student comes to recognize their
strength that can be utilized to benefit the group, so that when
the time c ome s they w ill be a ble to dedi ca te s uc h stre ngt h to t he
society and nation.
In Thailand, even though there is no official mentioning of
service learning in the national policy, the importance of social
responsibility and community service is ingrained into the
country’s education system in many forms, from elementary
level through higher education. Boy- and girl-scouts as well as
Thai Red Cross Youths have been mandatory activities in schools
and one of the key approaches for cultivating morality and so-
cial responsibility in children. Other extracurricular activities,
such as voting drive parades, are occasionally organized to meet
the local community’s needs. For higher education level, these
activities fall into the responsibility of each university’s and
college’s office of student affairs. Clubs are formed for those
with mutual interests, many of which geared towards volunteer
movements such as rural development or environment protec-
A. SOOKSOMCHITRA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
The key principles of service learning are:
1. Service-learning projects must include academic prepara-
tion, service activities, and structured reflection by the students.
This reflection should include systemic thinking about social
problems as well as personal learning and reactions.
2. Service learning should engage students in meaningful
work to meet real community needs. The project should also be
designed to meet course objectives. The instructors must ex-
plore the community beforehand to determine the appropriate
3. An academic evaluation must be performed using course
objectives as indicators. The students’ assessment of their own
performance will be taken into consideration as well as the
instructors’ (Noppakhun, 2000).
Concept 3: Project-Based Learning
A project-based learning is an educational method that puts
students at the center of the learning process (Wongsuwan,
1999). According to Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple In-
telligences, the method emphasizes learning activities that are
long-term, interdisciplinary. To complete a project, students
must use a systematic process which often starts with a driving
question that requires answering by researching, discussing,
experimenting, and finally presenting the outcome (Pukiat et al.,
2000). Lenschow (1998) also explained the term “project cen-
tered learning” as an education environment where students
must use their analytical thinking skill to solve problems and
work together towards resolutions, a process that will lead to
self-development. Von and Cooper (2000) stated that as the stu-
dents are more actively engaged in their learning, it gives them
advantages over others in the long run.
Project-based learning, explained in Katz (1993), encourages
students to question, confer, and negotiate with their teacher
during the three phases of the project:
1) Beginning: Identify potential topic and driving questions
2) Investi gation: Collect resources for investigating topic and
find ways to resolution
3) Culmination: Reflect and share what they learn
Kats and Chard (1994) compared project based learning to
the traditional learning methods and found that:
1) Projects based learning is student-driven and requires
them to actively apply all existing and newly acquired know-
ledge and skills, as opposed to the traditional educational view
of the student as a passive recipient of knowledge
2) Project based learning starts with the students’ interests
and progresses as they grow more engaged, as opposed to an
expectation of rewards or good grades
3) In a project based classroom, students get to choose among
various activities made available by their teachers, while in a
traditional classroom the teachers pre-select the activities as
well as all teaching materials
4) Project based learning puts teachers in the role of facilita-
tor rather than classroom experts. It offers students choice and
voice, personalizing the learning experience with teachers’ gu i-
dance when needed.
5) Project based learning is not a top-down approach. The
success of the course and academic achievements require con-
stant and relentless mutual effort from both the students and
Active experiences, and investigation, preparation and pres-
entation skills earned through project based learning exercises,
prepare students for ongoing learning about a dynamic world. It
fosters balanced, capable, adaptive citizens and problem solv-
Concept 4: Computer-Supported Collabo rative
There has been a lot of excitement about using web-based
learning for higher education. Online technology can be utilized
as an effective and convenient tool in supporting the develop-
ment of lifelong learning skills and other emerging goals of
education to meet the different demands of the students. The
emphasis on student-centered learning follows the guideline
and spirit of the provisions in the National Education Act of
B.E. 2542 which states that educational technologies should be
made accessible to students as soon as feasible so that they
shall have sufficient knowledge and skills in using these tech-
nologies for acquiring knowledge themselves on a continuous
lifelong basis (Ministry of Education, 2002).
Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning—CSCL stresses
the importance of collaboration among the students working
towards a mutual goal. It calls for skillful planning, coordina-
tion and implementation of curriculum and technology in order
to achieve the goal (Barbara, 1998). Deesintum (2002) also dis-
cussed that a well-designed information technology system is a
key element to the flow of information and knowledge. It as-
sists in the learning and sharing of knowledge, helps convert
tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge that can be shared, and
creates a learning environment that is open for interactions and
collaborations, without the limitation of time and physical loca-
Koschmann (1996) conducted a research using a network of
educational and information technologies as a tool to enhance
collaborative learning techniques such as peer teaching, project
based learning, games based learning, problem based learning,
and situation based learning. The results show that the availa-
bility of CSCL provides an unprecedented opportunity to im-
prove the quality of education and student experience.
A vast variety of CSCL tools (i.e., weblog, web board, chat/
instant messaging, and e-mail) stimulate interaction within the
members of the group, especially in situations that need mutual
resolution. It improves communication skills, helps forms a learn-
ing society that appreciate friendly competition for the sake of
education (Panich, 2004). Such gathering of those with mutual
interests, who are also willing to share knowledge and learn
from each other’s experiences, makes the learning process more
fun. It provides a perfect forum in which a body of knowledge
is formed (Sivayatorn, 2004).
Because young people are the ones responsible for the coun-
try’s future, it is considered a main duty of educational institu-
tions to nurture their sense of social consciousness. In order to
accomplish this, it is of extreme importance for schools and
universities to commit to the development and implementation
of new and improved learning modules that promote self and
social responsibility among students. The researcher is of an
opinion that computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL)
can be used as a powerful approach for developing a service-
learning module at the undergraduate level in support of this
A. SOOKSOMCHITRA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
concept. Such discipline can effectively structure ways for stu-
dents to participate in the empowering experience of acting to
make a real difference in the world.
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