Promoting Collaboration in Online Learning Environments

Posted: August 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

Weekly Discussion Question

Collaboration Image

                Collaborative assessments or activities, such as discussion forums and group projects, are an effective strategy that an instructor may implement not only for the purpose of building community through interaction in the online environment but also for measuring student learning (Oosterhof, A., Conrad, R-M., & Ely, D. P., 2008). In chapter 8 of their book, Building Online Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom (2007), Drs. Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt discussed several challenges to using collaborative assessments and offered suggestions for overcoming these challenges in order to promote collaborative learning. According to Oosterhof et al., “…collaborating learners have higher levels of participation, achievement, productivity, self-esteem, peer interaction group cohesion, and enhanced critical thinking skills than noncollaborators do” (2008, p. 202). .From the design of assessment, to the formation of collaborative groups, to the management and evaluation/feedback of the collaborative activities, there are many strategies the instructor can use to facilitate successful collaborative assessments. For this week’s discussion you and your classmates will discuss the challenges to collaborative assessments in the online environment from the perspectives of both the instructor and the learner and suggest strategies to address those challenges.

Begin by reviewing chapter 8 of the course resource, Building Online Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom (2007) by Drs. Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt. Consider your personal experiences with the challenges of online collaboration as a learner, and/or as an instructor/trainer in the school or work environment. Next, consider the following questions:

  •  Based on the information in chapter 8 of Building Online Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom (Palloff & Pratt, 2007), what are the challenges from the instructor’s perspective regarding the promotion of collaborative assessments in the online environment?
  •   Based on the information in chapter 8 of Building Online Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom (Palloff & Pratt, 2007), what are the challenges from the learner’s perspective regarding participation in collaborative assessments in the online environment?
  •  With the information from the course resource and your personal experiences in mind, what can instructors do to address the challenges facing learners and encourage their participation in collaborative assessments online? What can instructors do to address the challenges that online collaborative assessments present to the instructor?

By Wednesday:

Post your thoughts on the challenges of using collaborative assessments in the online environment from the perspective of both the instructor as well as, the learner. Select two challenges from each perspective, instructor and learner, and propose a strategy to address each challenge. Be sure to cite the course resource, your personal experience, and at least one outside source to support your post.

By Sunday:

Read and respond to the initial posts of at least two of your classmates.

Please keep discussions on a professional, respectful, and scholarly level.

Post additional responses to your classmates as desired to enhance your learning and that of your classmates.

Additional resource:

Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Assessing interaction and collaboration in online environments [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Scoring Rubric for Discussion Post (Download the Discussion Rubric Here)

Lorena Bull University M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology Program

Formative Evaluative Criteria for Discussion Board Assignments

Quality of Work Submitted

A: Exemplary Work

A= 4.00; A- = 3.75

All of the previous, plus the following:

B: Graduate Level Work

B+ = 3.50; B = 3.00; B- = 2.75

C: Minimal Work

C+ = 2.50; C = 2.00;

C- = 1.75

F: Work Submitted but Unacceptable

F = 1.00

Contribution to the Learning Community

The student’s contribution meets all assigned criteria and frequently prompts further discussion of a topic.

The student takes a leadership role in discussions.

Regularly contributes to collaborative learning.

The student demonstrates exemplary awareness of the community’s needs.

The student’s contribution satisfactorily meets the assigned criteria for contributions to the discussions.

The student interacts frequently and encourages others in the community.

The student demonstrates an awareness of the community’s needs.

The student’s contribution is minimal to the posting and response deadlines.

Occasionally, the student makes an additional comment.

The student makes minimal effort to become involved within the   community.

The student’s contribution does not meet the assigned criteria

The student does not respond or responds late to postings.

The student does not make an effort to participate in the community as it develops.

Initial Posting: Critical Analysis of Issues

**May include, but are not limited to, scholarly articles, collegial discussions; information from conferences, in service, faculty development, and/or meetings.

 

Demonstrates critical thinking to analyze and relate key points.

Supports content with required readings or course materials, and uses at least one creditable source** in addition to those materials.

Relates to the assigned discussion topic with satisfactory evidence of critical thinking.

Summarizes and supports content using information from required readings, course materials. Post does not contain a creditable source** in addition to those materials..

Summarizes or restates discussion topic components with minimal evidence of critical thinking skills.

Post is off topic.

Post has minimal or no connection to course materials.

Does not relate to the assigned discussion topic.

Responses: Quality of Learning for Colleagues and Self

 

Provide specific, constructive, and supportive feedback to extend colleagues’ thinking.

Encourage continued and deeper discussion.

Offer additional resources or experiences.

Demonstrate exemplary evidence of personal learning as a result of interaction with colleagues.

Provide constructive and supportive feedback to colleagues.

Refer to sources from required readings and course materials.

Demonstrate satisfactory evidence of personal learning as a result of interaction with colleagues.

Provide general feedback with minimal or no connection to required readings or course materials.

Demonstrate minimal evidence of personal learning as a result of interaction with colleagues.

Provide agreement without substance or connection to required readings or course materials.

Demonstrate no evidence of personal learning as a result of interaction with colleagues.

Expression

Provides clear, concise opinions and ideas effectively written in Standard Edited English.

Includes appropriate APA-formatted citations and reference list for outside sources and direct quotes.

Provides clear opinions and ideas written in Standard Edited English.

Includes satisfactory APA-formatted citations and reference list for outside sources and direct quotes.

Expression is unclear or interrupted by errors.

Includes minimal or no APA-formatted citations and reference list for outside sources and direct quotes.

Unacceptable written expression.

May include outside sources and direct quotes that lack appropriate citations.

Final Assignment Grade

A: Exemplary Work

B: Graduate Level Work

C: Minimal Work

F: Work Submitted but Unacceptable

The Discussion Board is intended to foster a dynamic, flowing discussion that stems from students’ engagement with course materials, one another, and faculty. Students are expected to ground their ideas and responses to one another in the course materials, in their own experience, and when relevant, in additional outside references.

**NOTE: The use of at least one outside source is required for Discussion Board postings with proper citation. Students must make at least one reference to course materials in their initial posting; however, it does not require a citation, unless it is a direct quotation. Outside sources must be referenced if a student uses direct quotes or paraphrases from the source.

Since all members of the online course have access to the same course materials, an allusion to an idea found in the course materials does not require an in-text citation with an accompanying reference list. However, a verbatim quote of language from any source, including course material, does require an in-text citation according to APA style (including the page number[s] of the quote) and an accompanying reference list. (Wherever there is a citation, full bibliographic information for that source must be provided in an accompanying reference list). We are aware that eCollege prevents exact APA formatting; however, students should make every effort to present information correctly..  

Also, any outside sources (e.g. personal communication, published material, electronic websites, or electronic articles) — whether an allusion to an idea, a paraphrase, or a direct quote – should be cited on the Discussion Board with an accompanying reference list.

It is expected that required Discussion postings and responses will be submitted to meet the assignment due date as postings and responses to colleagues after the due date do little to foster the purposes of discussion in a community of learners. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the faculty member if contacted by the student prior to the due date describing extenuating circumstances.

Updated: 8.15.14

References

Ooosterhof, A., Conrad, R. –M., & Ely, D. P. (2008). Assessing learners online. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Palloff, R-M., Pratt K. (2007). Building Online Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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Comments
  1. Hi Lorena!

    Sorry I’m late!

    I love the graphic. It really ties together with your title. Very colorful! We both used the Walden Rubric as a template. I found it hard to modify it as it is perfect already. For you, what do you think about collaboration?

    ~ Katrina

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