One of the best things with this course is that I rememeber how it was to be a student again. This only will improve my teacher skills in terms of greater empathy for the students. It is really interesting how I require my students to work collaborative without reflecting on collaboration, as discussed by Kearsley (2000, cited by Brindley & Blaschke). This topic 3 has been an eyeopener in this sence.

In order to meet the challange of topic 3, our group decided to make a questionniare to rest of the OLN-course participants based on Capdeferro and Romero (2012) (Thank you everyone who participated!). Since the questionnaire mainly was based on negative questions (frustration of collaborative work) we added some positive aspects. One of the results was that “collaboration takes longer time than individal work” – check on that one. And “lack of engagement from other participants” was seen as the biggest frustration in collaborative work, which was in line with the results from Capdeferro and Romero (2012). So how do we engage our students into collaborative work? to According Swan (2001), course design is a critical factor in determining the quantity, quality, and type of interactivity  in a course. According to Shepard (2000, cited in Andersson 2008) and Brindley et al (2009), research shows that timely and detailed feedback provided throughout, and as near in time as possible to the performance of the assessed behaviour, and Monitor group activities actively and closely, is the most effective in providing motivation, shaping behaviour, and developing mental constructs. Also, to be really clear about the purpose with the task they are suppose to do, and what they will gain by working together. I know, we will get more into this during topic 4, but this is the really interesting part and I look forward to learn more about it.

According to Siemens (2002, cited in Brindely et al 2009), learner-learner interactions in an e-learning course can be viewed as a four stage continuum:

  1. Communication
    People ‘talking,’ discussing
  2. Collaboration
    People sharing ideas and working together (occasionally sharing resources) in a loose environment
  3. Cooperation
    People doing things together, but each with his or her own purpose
  4. Community
    People striving for a common purpose

My own experience is that if I am more aware of why (mechanisms) I behave in a certain way, I can easier reflect upon it and maybe change it. By talking to students about these stages, getting them to reflect upon their own behavior and others, they might be more inspired to work collaborative. However, students that seek online distance courses may do that because of the flexible nature of it, and work in group can thus been seen as hindrance to their own progress (Brindely et al 2009). Swan et al (2006, cited in Brindeley et al 2009) say that to counteract this, it is super important to “demonstrate the value of the group learning by assessing both the product and proecess of group work” (Swan et al, 2006, cited in Brindeley et al 2009, p 3). It is certainly a challange to get everybody onboard. But now I got some tools to help me with this.

Anderson, T. (2008). Teaching in an online learning context. In The theory and practice of online learning (pp. 343-395). Athabasca university press

Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M. & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3).

Capdeferro, N. & Romero, M. (2012). Are online learners frustrated with collaborative learning experiences?. The International review of research in open and distance learning, 13(2), 26-44

Shepard, L. A. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4–14. Retrieved August 24, 2007, from http://www.jstor.org/view/0013189x/ap040287/04a00020/0

Swan, K. (2001). Virtual interaction: Design factors affecting students’ satisfaction and perceived learning in asynchronous online courses. Distance Education, 22(2), 306-331.

“go out and collaborate”