Group work can be fun, but it can also be horrible and challenging and include a lot of emotions. When my PBL group started working with Topic 3, on Learning in communities, we started our first group meeting with doing both self assessment and group assessment. We have identified some problems in our own team work so far, and discussed our individual goals with attending this course. I see this conversation as a really important reflective break which helped us forward in a good way.

Being part of the ONL course gives me flashbacks in many ways. Flashbacks to when I was a student myself, struggling with home work, reading, and of course sometimes doing group work. In school, group work was only OK when being allowed to work in the same group as your friends. Then everyone’s roles in the team were pretty much settled right from the start. However, I guess everyone ever been part of a group work are familiar with the social loafing phenomenon. I’ve been social loafing through group work myself, I can admit that. It has happened when I haven’t been enough interested in the topic, or when I did not have a good connection to the group or did not get enough help from the instructor, when finding the topic too difficult to grasp or too boring and when simply being too busy with other things.

According to Thompson & Ku (2006) some common problems in group work are ineffective communication, conflicts and negative attitudes toward group work. The authors refer to research by Ku, Cheng & Lohr who suggest that the five Cs; communicate,  cooperate, compromise,  complement, and commitment should be practiced by the instructor to enable team members to work better together. Thompson & Ku state that group accountability and individual accountability should be balanced. Overemphasizing group accountability cause social loafing, and overemphasizing individual accountability undermines the cohesiveness of the group. (2006, 372-373) I think I could try to implement the five Cs in to my own online tutoring. At least the CCCCC model is easy to remember.

Until now, I’ve experienced this course and the collaborative part as mostly frustrating and stressful. It’s not easy studying and working in the same time. But during this topic it’s been the first time I’ve actually enjoyed and had fun while studying the topic and we did a very good collaborative work on our presentation. I don’t know if it was thanks to our reflective break in the beginning of the topic, or the topic itself who helped us forward, but I feel much more motivated now continuing on the next topics.

PBL team work and Prezi presentation in progress


Thompson, L. & Ku, H. 2006, “A case study of online collaborative learning”, Quarterly Review of Distance Education, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 361-375.

Love, hate & collaborate