Collaborative learning is learning method that involves two or more students engaged in a common task and is individually accountable to others (Tomei, 2010, pg. 46). Knowledge is shared among peers, not assumed by one particular learner after obtaining new knowledge from either the instructor or course material. Collaborative learning assists students in attaining a higher order of critical thinking especially as they engage one another (Brindley, Walti, and Blaschke, 2009, pg. 3). Collaborative learning can refer to any instructional method in which students work together in small groups toward a common goal.
Cooperative learning is a learning method which engages students of different abilities to work together supporting one another toward a common goal while discouraging competition (Johnson & Johnson, 1993). Student teams are developed and each student has a responsibility to help his/her teammates understand the subject concepts and complete the specific group requirements (Tomei, 2010, pg. 62). One of the most basic examples of cooperative learning is group brainstorming. A group is given a topic and each member researches and discovers all the possible elements or components to the topic.
Examples of collaborative learning activities in online learning include online peer reviews, team evaluations of websites or software, team scavenger hunts, team wiki or web page, simulations, homework forums, case study reviews, debates, team interviews with guest experts, or teacher training lesson plans.
Cooperative Learning Models
Student team-achievement divisions (STAD)
Students are divided into groups of 4-5. After the instructor introduces the content, team members use worksheets to help each other learn and master the material through quizzes, discussion forums, chats. Worksheet answer sheets are distributed allowing reinforcement of concepts. Once students take individual quiz on the material studying, quizzes are scored, and each individual is given an improvement score. This improvement score is based on the degree to which the score exceeds a student’s past averages, rather than on a student’s absolute score.
Five to six member teams are given a broad topic (e.g., country profile). Team members are assigned subjects within a topic (e.g., GNP, culture, government) responsible for researching and presenting their findings to the class during a synchronous session. Each student is assigned a role and a different reading, and then back together, teams share and compile their data to collectively develop a solution to the situation posed.
Teams of 3-6 investigate a problem or issue. Students are responsible for developing group goals, assigning individual responsibilities, and completing the project on time. Students approach their task generating a topic, progressing to planning, implementation, analysis, presentation, and evaluation. Communication is conducted through chat rooms
Students are paired with other students and take turns being a tutor providing one-on-one feedback. Pairs of students use structured exercises to reinforce module, lesson, or unit material. Pairs convene in a chat session.
List of tools for teaching with technology:
Google http://www.google.com/intl/en/options/ (under “Communicate, show & share”)
Course Management Systems
Project Management Tools
WebEx WebOffice http://www.weboffice.com/
Acrobat Connect http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatconnect/
Collaborative Concept Mapping
Clocking IT http://www.clockingit.com/
Loose Stitch http://www.loosestitch.com/
Remember the Milk http://www.rememberthemilk.com/
Ta-da Lists http://www.tadalist.com/
Software Development & Issue Tracking
Presentation & Slide Sharing