1. Pros and Cons in Using
Interact in Distance
Group Assignment in Distance Education
Interact: What Tools to Use for Group
Explore the Student Experience
Pros of Using Interact
Cons of Using Interact
3. Group Project in Distance Education?
A subject may involve group assignment
Employers value group work skills
Group work prepare graduates for employments
Distance education students:
Different locations and time zones
Students don’t necessarily know each other
A lecturer groups the students
Work in isolations – to encourage group work
Lack interactions and communications with others
4. Group Project in Distance Education!
Planning a group assignment in distance edu.
Can Interact (Sakai) be used for group work?
What Interact tools can help distance education
students in their group work?
Students experienced difficulties or showed concerns
on some tools. Can the tools be improved?
Significance and contribution
Students shared experience in group assignment
They learned interaction and communication skills
required by future employers.
5. Interact: What Tools for Group Work?
Communications and Interaction
Calendar/announcement to plan and schedule
Freeware or other devices: skype, 3G roaming mobile,
Wiki /blog report
Word document - to be placed in a resource folder
6. Student Experience
Geographically Distributed and Different Time
Full time workers meeting after office hours
Weekday night or weekend chats
Cultural Difference and Different Work Method
Language difficulty in chatting
Dominant students in group
Some groups lack leadership
7. Pros of Using Interact
Tools generally help to
Share resources, experience and knowledge
Facilitate basic communication and
Plan and schedule tasks in Calendar and
High Response Rate of Use and Adoption
Wiki report completed as required in an
Most groups show an ability to use Interact tools
8. Cons of Using Interact
New CSU students training/difficulty?
Tools have limitations:
Calendar – for face-to-face teaching
Emails sent from Announcement, group emails
and forums are tied with enrolment data – not to
Group emails – monitored by the lecturer
Wiki cannot be edited by two or more members
at the same time - unexpected changes and
Chat room – lack video or voice chat options
Forum – thread option to be made by default for
Who use and who monitor the use?
Students, teaching staff
Purpose of use?
DE vs face-to-face (e.g. Calendar)
Group assignment versus group
communication in individual assignments
How each tool can be used at its optimum?
Is a tool effectively used?
Improvement to the tool?
Tool Limitation Improvement
Wiki No control over
•Provide help and tutorial information.
•Allow multiple users to see who else are
editing what section of a document.
•Warn all users that only one person can save
the wiki content at a time.
Chat Room Mainly PC-based •Support the use of chat room through Iphone,
3G roaming, Palmtop, etc.
•Chat room in Interact should be enhanced to
allow voice or video chatting.
Calendar Limited calendar
•Add online group discussions, event
reminders, individual task deadline, and group
•Allow the use of different colours to indicate
different levels of important events.
Resources No help information
on how to organize
•Allow the choices of some standard folder
names such as readings, discussion notes,
draft report, and shared materials.
Only send emails to
Lack search options
•Allow the additions of email addresses of
private web-based emails. to their group
•Support threading & searches in forums