Unfortunately, I had a bit of a medical issue and could not attend the meetings for most of topic 3. They also coincided with the busiest part of the semester, where I had many teaching arrangements, writing, and administrative tasks. This made keeping on track immensely difficult. Consequently, I let my team mates down. I felt very bad about this situation, and yet at the same time, I often felt like I could not do much to change it, and this might have intensified my inaction.

I have drawn a few lessons from this experience.

First, there is a need to be vulnerable that is important in group learning. We have to be transparent about what we can do and cannot do, and the limitations of our capacities. That is essential to ensuring that there is trust within the group. I was afraid to share my difficulties openly, and this ended up creating more issues later on.

Second, there is a need to be accountable. When things settled down, I took over another member as secretary and will be chair for topic 5. I recognized that I did not deal with the matter in the best way possible, but going forward, I hope to be able to address the situation by playing an active role and hopefully making positive contributions.

Third, creating a good social presence is essential to supporting group-based learning. All of my teaching revolves around group-based learning, which can make things engaging and improve motivation to learning (CoI framework). However, from a practical point of view, I realized that we might need to more scaffold how to resolve issues, disputes, and communication within a group perhaps more. One thing to note is that being a supportive community is also as important as being vulnerable and being accountable. A supportive community does not mean that we do not hold one another to account. Rather, we create and support an environment where individuals can bring their individual personalities to the group (Garrison 2009).

However, doing so is easier said than done. It requires group participants to be present, to be mindful of others, and to be open to listening and also willing to address issues when they do need to be attended to. These are skills that are essential to working well in groups that need to be constantly honed and refined. I have found that a good facilitator is able to do that, by being mindful of the diverse needs of the participants, by paying attention to group dynamics, and intervening where necessary. But overall, being explicit about how a group should collaborate and coordinate well is key to helping the group work through these issues, and that is what we have done through this PBL approach.

Lastly, I think it is worth noting that cognitive collaborative work is one of the, if not the defining aspect of humans as a species. And as with everything that defines us, it is also inevitable fallible, and liable to go wrong. In collaborating with one another, we take the risk that things can go wrong. More specifically, I think we take the risk that things will go wrong. What’s more important is how we support one another in being vulnerable, being accountable, and being supportive to look forward to becoming a better team through time. I think that this is the attitude I want to instill in myself, and in my students.


“CoI Framework” https://coi.athabascau.ca/coi-model/

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education model. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

Topic 3 – Being Vulnerable, Being Accountable, and Being Supportive