Collaboration

  • COLLABORATION

    Collaborating Online-Learning Together in Community by Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt

     

    SUMMARY POINTS TO REMEMBER ON COLLABORATION BASICS

    -Successful collaboration depends on the creation of a learning community. Con- sequently, attention needs to be paid to community-building from the start of the project.

    -Collaboration addresses multiple learning styles and issues of culture.

    -Collaboration serves to reduce the isolation that can occur online.

    -Virtual teamwork not only allows students to gain competence in working in groups online, it also provides them an opportunity to test out real-world prac- tices they are likely to face in the work world.

    -Online groups move through phases, including a normative phase, a problem- solving phase, disagreement or conflict, an action phase, and termination.

    -A strong sense of community can assist groups in moving through the phases of their development more effectively.

    SUMMARY POINTS TO REMEMBER ON THE PROCESS OF ONLINE COLLABORATION

    -In order to achieve successful collaborative activity, attention needs to be paid to the four phases of activity: set the stage, model the process, guide the process, and evaluate the process.

    -Before including collaborative activity in an online course, the instructor should conduct a critical self-reflection to determine how comfortable he or she is.

    -By utilizing tools such as explanations for teams and team charters, the instruc- tor can effectively set the stage and model the process of collaboration online.

    -Effective buy-in for collaborative activity can occur by using the tools to set the stage and can create a contract for collaborative activity.

    -Do not assume that students will jump at the opportunity to collaborate. In- stead, anticipate that they will be resistant and use measures to counter that re- sistance, such as explanations for teams, early on in the course.

    SUMMARY POINTS TO REMEMBER ON COLLABORATION CHALLENGES

    -Collaborative courses should involve collaboration throughout the process.

    -Effective planning is the key to avoiding collaboration challenges.

    -For collaboration to be successful, the instructor needs to do a self-assessment to ensure that he or she is truly comfortable with this form of activity and does not view it as an “add on” to more important work.

    -The instructor should provide the learners with technical training and ensure that adequate technical support is available so that technical difficulties do not interfere with successful collaboration.

    -The instructor should encourage students to choose a leader who will assign roles to enable the process to flow smoothly.

    -The instructor needs to intervene in cases of over- and under-participation to minimize frustration and conflict.

    -Students should be encouraged to celebrate difference and diversity in their groups and appreciate the richness that a diverse learning experience brings.

     

    SUMMARY POINTS TO REMEMBER ON ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION OF COLLABORATIVE WORK

    -Collaborative work should be assessed collaboratively.
    -Instructors need to provide clear guidelines for assessment of collaborative work.

    -The use of rubrics helps to make the assessment task easier and more objective.

    -Students need to understand what is expected of them in the assessment func- tion. Providing an area online in which they can clarify this role or ask questions can be helpful.

    -When assessment aligns with learning objectives and collaborative activities, the task of assessment becomes less cumbersome and student satisfaction with the learning process increases.

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