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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