For the fourth topic, we focused
our attention on the emotional determinants for online learning. By this time,
our group had already built up a good rapport with each other, so we were able
to discuss more openly with each other. But the last two weeks of April was a
very disturbing time for me because my country, Sri Lanka was going through a
terrible situation. My country was attacked by some ruthless terrorists and
more than 200 innocent people were killed. We had never expected something like
this! Anyway, the country is now moving forward, trying to rise from the ashes.
Thus, my emotions were greatly disturbed during this crisis.  

So, emotions do indeed play a
significant role in online collaborative learning processes. At the group
discussions, we agreed that there are both positive and negative emotions that
affect the success of online collaborative learning: confusion, frustration,
boredom, curiosity, interest, eagerness, excitement, shame, guilt, etc. I
think, learners usually get confused and frustrated at the beginning mainly due
to technical issues and their lack of experiences in online meetings.  Learners feel bored if the topic of discussion
is not interesting for them. And, if there is nothing in it for them, they find
the discussions boring. But, Daniels & Stupnisky (2012) state that boredom can also
result in creativity because it gives time for the learners to think, reflect
and relax. Further, it results in learners feeling guilt which leads to action.
And anxiety has been found out as the earliest and most commonly studied
discrete emotion that disturbs collaborative learning (Daniels & Stupnisky, 2012). Moreover, some studies have
found out that enjoyment in collaborative learning does not necessarily result
in achievement.

If I talk about me, I was so
curious at the beginning because this online discussion forum was new for me
and I was so excited about meeting people from almost all parts of the world. There
were certain times I felt guilty as well if I was not prepared for the
discussion. Sometimes, due to the time constraints, I was unable to read
anything on the topic and I was sort of blank when the others were discussing.
In such circumstances, to be frank, I was guilty and embarrassed.

So as the strategies to overcome
unhealthy emotions, our team agreed that there needs to be a healthy
relationship among each other in the group. We also discussed that it would
have been better if we had spent more time on getting to know each other. Further,
we discussed that it would be better not to use many tools and applications
because it could confuse the members and will raise technical issues. But I personally
believe that this depends on individual goals. Specially, in a course like ONL,
if the learner’s individual goal of joining the course is to get more exposure to
digital tools that can be used in teaching/learning process, this approach
could demotivate the learner.

And, we did not forget to evaluate
ourselves throughout the course; we evaluated and compared our group work with
the other groups’ work and that always motivated us to do better the next time.
And I think, we always tried to do better than the previous time.

Thus, this ONL course was such a roller
coaster ride for all of us. We were moving towards the end of the course, and I
would say we really enjoyed our work amidst our busy schedules. This is indeed
an amazing experience and thank you ONL 191 team for this beautiful experience.


Lia M. Daniels, R. H. S. (2012). Not that different in theory: Discussing the control-value theory of emotions in online learning environments. Internet and Higher Education, 15, 222–226.

The Role of Emotions in Online Collaborative Learning