Teacher Education


Designing the online collaboratory for the Global Social Benefit Incubator

Document Type


Publication Date



Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education


Pedro Hernandez-Ramos, James L. Koch, Albert Bruno, and Eric Carlson describe the online collaboratory planned for the Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI), an international education program designed to serve social benefit entrepreneurs working in the fields of education, health, economic development, the environment, and equality around the world, primarily in developing countries. Hosted by Santa Clara University, the GSBI has held two-week intensive workshops for selected social benefit entrepreneurs since 2003. The program has identified two major goals for its development: (1) establishing an innovative, blended learning environment (face-to-face and online) capable of addressing the needs of a wide range of learners and (2) extending the program's reach via an online communication, collaboration, and learning environment. Current technological resources are inadequate to the program's long-term goals, leading to the need to develop an extended collaboratory where participants could continue to contribute long after the end of their residential experience. Key objectives for this developmental research project include the design or adaptation of online tools that support distributed knowledge construction, skill development, communication, and collaboration for learners with different backgrounds, capabilities, language skills, interests, and priorities. The authors posit that project outcomes would be meaningful at two complementary levels: pedagogical innovations addressing heterogeneous adult learner populations and innovations in the design of online learning environments.