Review and reflect
To think about what you have learned, we will describe a fictional online learning student and ask you how she could help herself across four aspects of collaborative learning.
"Hello everyone, my name is Lisa and I am from Montreal in Canada. My first language is French but I can speak English pretty well. I have a young son and also a part-time job in a Management position. As this is the first time I have enrolled on a major online learning programme I am a bit nervous about joining in and getting started. Has anyone got any tips or hints for me that might help? Looking forward to hearing from you all."
- How do you think Lisa could reduce her nervousness about collaborating online?
There are many small steps that Lisa could take to get experience collaborating online. She could read and “like” posts made by others that she agrees with, then start to write comments without publishing them, before publishing something for everyone to read when ready.
Community and challenges
- Consider the use of a discussion board or shared document (for example, you may use tools such as Google Drive or Evernote to collaborate on documents). How do you think Lisa could take advantage of being in a different time zone to many other students on her course?
There is likely to be a delay between posting your comment and many other people reading it. Consider taking your time to read other people’s comments thoroughly before writing your own. This will be especially helpful if English is not your first language, as you will have more time to proofread before posting.
- Lisa has experience managing a team of people and leading on projects face-to-face but not online. What skills do you think is she likely to use when collaborating online and what skills might she wish to develop?
As a leader, Lisa is likely to be able to clarify the group’s goals, guide discussions and make difficult decisions. She might be focused on personal goals rather than group goals, which should help inspire her to practice and improve her online communication techniques.
Conclusion and reflection
In this topic you have considered and reflected on the importance and benefits of collaboration in the online learning environment. Think about:
- how you are going to collaborate with other students on your course.
- what you can do to identify any issues that could prevent you from collaborating effectively.
- the skills and strategies that you need to be a successful collaborator.
You have explored different ways which collaboration can be used to enhance online learning. You have considered your online identity, managing your time, making best use of everyone’s skills, and being professional. You should now understand why effective collaboration is essential to your success as an online learner.
Activity: How will you collaborate?
Use the box below to write down your reflections on the following prompts:
- How are your experience and requirements different from Lisa?
- How useful do you think that online collaboration is to your learning? You could write three actions to develop your confidence in this area.
- How is important is collaboration and communication to you when learning online? You could write 3 reasons why it’s important.
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