Community & CollaborationAs Educators, we all know the importance of community, a group of people who share commonemotions, values and beliefs, which are actively engaged in learning together and from eachother; and collaboration, when individuals work on a shared goal in the classroom. What doyou do to foster both of these in your f-2-f settings?CommunityCollaboration
Research shows that community and collaboration are equally important in an online setting.Handbook of Online Learning (Rudestam & Schoenholtz-Read, 2010) “Research over the last decade within a community of inquiry model has found that students’ sense of community in a learning environment sustains productive discourse and enhances learning. That sense of community involves goal-directed collaborative interaction, trust, and mutual support.” (39-40) “In the community of inquiry model, high teaching presence is defined as student perception that the teacher is providing effective course design, facilitating productive discourse, and providing direct instruction. In a large study of f2f and online learners, Shea et al. found that high teaching presence was associated with a greater sense of classroom community for both types of learner.” (40) “…the most highly predicted pedagogical techniques for the online future in higher education were group problem solving, collaborative tasks and problem-based learning.” (18) “In an online classroom, the most effective means of achieving learning outcomes is the use of active learning and collaborative techniques that encourage students to become empowered learners.” (383)Distance Education: A Systems View (Moore & Kearsley, 2005) “Since, in distance learning settings, normal communication is conveyed through an artificial medium, we must find ways to achieve “social presence.” (230) “In an earlier study of computer mediated instruction, Cheng et al. reported a higher completion rate for those learners who worked collaboratively (90 percent) than for those who worked independently (22 percent).” (231)Online Learning: Concepts, Strategies, and Application (Dabbagh & Bannan-Ritland, 2005) “In an online environment, a sense of community is promoted through strong interpersonal ties that provide support for learning and prevent feelings of isolation. Viewing a community as what people do together rather than as a geographic location where tasks are accomplished is the focus for integration of virtual online communities into the educational process.” (84) “…instructors need to place as much emphasis on establishing the appropriate instructional climate as on providing appropriate content, particularly when they want to reap the meaningful educational benefits of attempting to create an online learning community.” (86)
In looking at the list of things you do in your f-2-f classroom to promote community andcollaboration, what challenges do you find in translating these items to an online setting?Should an online setting replicate f-2-f interaction?ChallengesWhat things have translated well? What tools did you use in the online environment torecreate these positive experiences online?Positive Transfer Experiences& Tools Used
Case Study #1: Getting to know each otherYou have asked students to introduce themselves to each other using the Discussion Board toolin Blackboard, and to respond to each other’s intros. You have received the followingresponses: Hey class Im Student 1. I am a communication major and live in MyTown, Oh. I am a current Senior at OU and I like to play sports and watch movies. MY newest endeavor is to film a movie and submit it to the Sundance dance film festival in Utah. My name is Student 2. I am 29 yrs old. This is my first year in college. It has been over 11 years since I have been in school. I have 2 boys age 5 and 3. I am working on a 4 year degree for Business management in hopes of one day owning my own company. My name is Student 3. I am an undergraduate and I have not decided on a major. Look forward to getting to know everyone! Hello my name is Student 4, i am 39 years old, i have 2 children,Child 1 20 and Child 2 is 8. I am going to be a grandma in late Dec. or early Jan. i am very excited. I enjoy playing bingo and spending time with my kids. Eventually i would like to be a probation officer or a social worker. Hello my name is Student 5 but everyone calls me #5. I am 23 years old. I have been married for 4 years. I have three children they are 4,3,and 2 there names are Child 1, Child 2, and Child 3. I have 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 5 newborn kittens. My favorite food is spaghetti. I graduated in 2005. I am very excited be back at school and also nervous. My name is Student 6 but I go by #6. I come from the small town MyTown Ohio. I play sports both in school and out of school. Mainly tennis and ice hockey. I am into music from a band perspective and got started in band when I was in fifth grade and have continued it since. I am generally a quiet person and will not talk much, I observe and develop ideas on my own rather than express the idea out loud. I keep to myself a lot but I become more outgoing the more I know someone. I work hard both inside and outside of a classroom no matter what the task.
What types of information do students typically give out in their introduction?Information volunteeredIs this enough information to get to know someone? If you have never met anyone in yourcourse before would this be enough to begin developing trust with your peers so that youwould feel comfortable working with them? What other types of information would you like tosee students share? What do students share when talking in a f-2-f setting?Would Like to Know
How would you structure the assignment or what tools would you use to elicit moreinformation or to create a deeper sense of interaction between participants?Adaptation of AssignmentStructureBlackboard 9 ToolsWeb 2.0 Tools
Research“embedding the use of technology designed for connecting, such as Facebook, twittering andblogging, might increase the social presence of all of the students as well as the teachingpresence of the instructor.” (Young & Bruce, 2011)“Connecting people’s names and faces is a first big step to forming bonds.” (Misanchuk &Anderson)Tools to UseGlogsterhttp://www.glogster.com/Create a multi-media poster to express yourself.Voice Threadhttp://voicethread.com/Transforming media into collaborative spaces with video, voice, andtext commenting.Bb9 Wiki or Wikispaceshttp://www.wikispaces.com/ Easy-edit web pages used for collaborative writing/editing.Bb9 Journal or Bloggerhttp://www.blogger.com Create a blogJinghttp://www.techsmith.com/jing/ Screenshots and screencastingSocial Networks (FB, Social Go, Ning, Classroom 2.0, Curriki, LinkedIn,Google+)
Case Study #2: Making Learning CollaborativeThis case study is broken down into 4 mini-case studies. You will be collaborating with yourpeers to brainstorm one of these issues before reuniting into a full-class discussion.Study AIn a traditional classroom, you typically lecture on this particular topic (___________________).However, research shows that lectures are not the best methods for transmitting content in anonline setting. In fact, Educause recommends limiting video/audio recorded “lectures” to 5minutes – only to clarify key points. How can you deliver your traditional content, make surestudents are “getting it”, and facilitate collaboration in your new digital setting? What tools willyou use to do this?Ideas:Study BStudents spend lots of time in your traditional classroom developing lesson plans and units.They work collaboratively to make them interdisciplinary and learn to give constructivefeedback by doing peer to peer evaluations. You also spend a great deal of your time meetingwith individual students and teams during class as well as giving students written feedback ontheir drafts. You have been asked to teach a section of this course online. How will youmaintain this collaborative approach in the new environment? What tools will you use tofacilitate your approach?Ideas:
Study CPre-service teachers need to practice teaching and receive feedback on their performance. Tofacilitate this in your course, you typically have students co-teach the course with you. That isyou have them work in small groups to present information from each chapter of your text tothe class or have them model what they have learned by teaching a mini-lesson in their contentarea. You believe this is an important component of the professional development theyundergo while in the college of education. You are now teaching the course online. How canyou embed this practice into your new course structure? Will you have them model traditionalface-to-face instruction, online instruction best-practices, or both?Ideas:Study DYour students are working on a group project in your online course. Traditionally, you ensuredthat all students were participating by allowing class time to meet, brainstorm and work. Youfear that students will not contribute to the group process equally when they are not meetingface to face, worry about students collaborating from a distance, and have concerns about theentire collaboration process being asynchronous. How can you assess student participation andprovide opportunities for both asynchronous and synchronous collaboration on the groupproject?Ideas:
Suggested ToolsStudy AH2O http://h2o.law.harvard.edu/index.jspDiscussion board that eliminates rushing to post first, forces students to think on their ownbefore reading others’ posts, and increases critical thinking because students cannotautomatically respond to anyone – especially taking the easy way out by responding to onlythose they agree with. Still allows for viewing all discussions at the conclusion.Study BCCDT: Collaborative Curriculum Design Toolhttp://learnweb.harvard.edu/alps/tfu/design_ccdt_about.cfmThis design tool allows students to create lesson units using the Teaching for Understandingmodel and provides opportunities for collaboration from other course participants, instructors,and outside participants (such as classroom teachers). It also allows completed works to bepublished publically on the web.Study CZentationhttp://www.zentation.com/about_free.phpSynchronize video of you teaching and PowerPoint slides together in a single presentationformat. Zenation allows viewing of body language & teacher presence in addition to thecontent to better get an overall view of student’s performance. Blogging comments allowfeedback from viewers, and questions can be answered asynchronously.Study DYugma for Skype https://www.yugma.com/This version of Yugma works with your Skype account to add desktop sharing, file transfer,presenter switching and marking capabilities to your video conference with up to three peoplefor free. It also allows you to record the session so voice, text, and sharing interactions can bereviewed.
Considerations in Choosing a Tool1. Private or public2. Course objectives and skills learned3. Ease of use4. CostResearch“Best practices to strengthen bonding include simple tasks such as collaborative decision-making related to communication protocols, and required and ongoing student postings inonline discussions. In addition, use of synchronous instant messaging to enhancecamaraderie, asynchronous communication for deeper discussions, and instructor modelingof thoughtful responsiveness with a personal tone all can help build classroom communityconnections.” (226)“With the elimination of time and place constraints, instructors can create innovativeassignments and interactions in a global context. According to Robinson and Hullinger (2008),small group discussions and projects can provide an emphasis on higher level thinking skills ofsynthesis and decision making, which in turn create a more challenging learning environmentand deeper learning. Such meaningful academic experiences provide students with relevantaccomplishments and satisfaction that build learning communities, enhance the quality ofstudent engagement, and decrease dropout rates (Park & Choi, 2009).” (226)“…in order to create a strong sense of community and to help students engage with learning inonline courses, instructors need to find ways to help students feel more strongly connectedwith each other and with the instructor and to facilitate activities that more actively involvestudents in their own learning. Instructors who purposefully design learning activities tocreate opportunities for students to learn about each other, thereby decreasing transactionaldistance and increasing social presence (Robinson &Hullinger, 2008; Rovai, 2002), are likely toimprove learners’ sense of classroom community.” (227)
Lists of more resourceshttp://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/guidelinesandstandards/bestlist/bestwebsitestop25.cfm#collaborationhttp://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htmhttp://go2web20.net/http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com/Home