Teachers tend to teach the way they were taught... or so the conventional wisdom predicts. As a student I didn't do any collaborative or team work. I came through school when k-12 was cells and bells. I don't recall any seating arrangement other than rows or ever working with a partner on a project.
However i was taught well by my first master teacher, Marianne Brooker (a lifelong friend). I got lucky, and was introduced to the power of cooperative learning during my first student teaching experience. (We worked on a great simulation called Dig!
(It took some digging to find out that Dig is still in print!)

Here it is, 33 years later and collaboration and teamwork is an essential of online work. So how to do you get online learning teams to work? I'm still working on this, and I suspect you are too. When Joan Vandervelde send me the following information I wanted to share it:

Tips from the Pros - How to Reduce Social Loafing

At this year’s Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning, Sherry Piezon, a doctoral student at Florida State University, and William Ferree, manager of Web-enabled programs at the Naval War College, offered recommendations for reducing social loafing in online groups.

* Require high levels of accountability
* Alternate group roles
* Balance group member skills and knowledge
* Encourage discussions
* Give meaningful feedback to the group and individuals
* Reward for group performance
* Provide all groups with performance data from other groups for comparison
* Use a grading system that gives a group grade and an individual grade.
* Assign readings on group work processes
* Provide opportunities to increase collaboration and publicize results.

Seems like common sense doesn't it? In fact these tips are just what you'd do in a face to face class.

Which leads me to several questions:

Is online social loafing a problem in your practice?

We can see the similarities between face to face & online collaboration, but what are the differences?

Do you use online group/collaborative work in your professional practice? (How's it going?)

What are the barriers to success in online collaboration?

Curious as always,

~ Dennis

Tags: collaboration, e-learning, groups, online, teaching

Views: 205

Replies to This Discussion

I just learned that Marianne Brooker, by first master teacher passed away a few days ago. She was a great teacher. She touched many lives. She helped set me on my life long path, introduced me to my wife of 34 years, and remained a friend forever. I saw her a few months ago for the first time in years. I now treasure that last meeting. The last thing I said to her was that she was a great teacher who had changed my life. I'll miss you Marianne! ~ Dennis O'Connor
We have been using Web2.0 tools to get students to work collaboratively.
My colleague has been blogging the progress.




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