Topic 3: Collaboration online

The last two weeks in the ONL-course have been about collaboration in online groups. The topic made my PBL-group think about how our own collaboration worked and we had an interesting discussion in the beginning of the topic. What are the goal(s) for our PBL-group and how does this correspond with our own individual goals for taking the course? I have been frustrated because the PBL-group focus on the presentation aspect to quickly. I have missed a stage of discussion and reflection on the topic and literature before discussion presentation tools and presentation content. I had not defined the goal for our PBL group as the presentation. For me it was about sharing experiences, ideas and reflections – in my mind that is collaborative Learning.

One problem though, that I think is very evident after this course so far, is that it is really hard to have a discussion and share reflections when you are collaboration online. I have identified three aspects of difficulties:

  1. Technical malfunctions when using for example Adobe connect to have meetings. One of my PBL-group members shared this video that illustrates the difficulties. It is hilarious:-)
  2. Different – and unspoken – ideas about written discussion. Discussion and reflection could be done in writing, but I think this is really hard and an area where you really need to develop your skills over time. Otherwise, it will only be a lot of statements and sentences – and no collaborative learning. There is no discussion before anyone answers a statement that has been put on a paper.
  3. On and off-participation. This is of course also a problem in IRL group work, but I think the online aspect makes it more difficult.

My previous experiences of online collaboration have most often been collaboration with people I know and where we have had earlier experiences from collaborating IRL. This has made it easier, because you know what is expected from you.

In my PBL group we decided to focus on useful tips for designing group work, so that our student can reach “higher levels” and not only divide tasks between them. Online groups tend to stay in superficial communication and collaboration. To push the group development forward the teacher must make sure that the individual see that he or she can fulfill their own goal – therefor design activity so that individual task benefit from group task (Brindley, Walti & Blaschke, 2009). I will add the link later when the presentation is available. These are my favorite tips:

  1. Create small groups
  2. Goal and purpose should be clear
  3. Be proactive in monitoring and intervention

This quote from Anna Bratt in my PBL-group will end this blogpost on topic 3. I think it summarizes the positive aspect of collaboration in a very poetical way:

Learning activity is planned in place and time since collaborative learning means coming together. The participants create a unique activity, all individuals create together a unique result based on the subject’s own histories, which in turn affects the activity played out.




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