My experience as a teacher and as a student is that group work can be both brilliant and frustrating, even traumatic sometimes. How can my experiences be so divided?
As a pedagogue I start with the positive side. A collaborative work creates co creation of knowledge and meaning. It develop my reflection when I have to deal with new knowledge. This is Palloff and Prats thoughts I totally share. How can it be like this? Capman, Ramondt and Smiley talked about, the importance of honesty, openness, dialogue and passion. My experience tells me that people with the same passion for the task work better together. Of course I have bump into people who are not reliable but that are not as common as bump into people with different passions. Dialogue often works well with talking and listening. I don´t know where it come from but I think the quote speaks for it self: ”their is a reason why you got one mouth and two ears”. Sometimes it is more difficult to have a dialogue but it is often when you try to have a conversation with stressed and frustrated people. It could also be language barriers but my experience from that is the dialogue still working but everything takes longer time. Worth remembering it can be within the country too. Different areas and different social background can create different type of dialogue. If you are aware about that it is not going to frustrate you.
Before I entering this course I thought different knowledge where an issue but I think different passion is a bigger issue for collaborative work. Every human being being in a group work have probably bumped into a free rider, don´t contribute much. One reason for free riding is a lack of passion. Another solution for an ineffective group work is to split it apart among group members and in the end put it together. With that solution I rather do it by myself.
Brindley, Blaschke and Waltis paper is interesting. They said that it can be important not only to evaluate the product of the group task but also to evaluate everybody’s contribution. More focus on the process rather then the product.
Brindley, J., Blaschke, L.M. & Walti, C. (2009) Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online enviroment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3).
Capman C., Ramondt, L., & Smiley, G. (2005) Strong community, deep learning: Exploring the link. Innovations in Education and teaching international, 47(3), 217-230
Pallof, R.M. & Pratt K. (2005) Collaborating online: Learning together in community: San Fransisco, CA: Jossey_Bass