ERIC Number: EJ918742
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Online Group Work Patterns: How to Promote a Successful Collaboration
Oliveira, I.; Tinoca, L.; Pereira, A.
Computers & Education, v57 n1 p1348-1357 Aug 2011
Participation is a complex process, engaging the whole person, implying cognitive, emotional and relational aspects. In online open and distant learning, group work is a commonly used strategy, given its collaborative nature and constructivist framework ([Bates and Poole, 2003], [Garrison and Anderson, 2003] and [Jonassen, 2005]). In this context, collaborative learning processes are highly dependent on the shared written information and the interactions that are established among the participants. The types of interactions that occur within such groups can influence their knowledge convergence processes, and are often decisive for its success. In this paper we aim to study the different types of collaborative practices in online Courses based on the analysis of the online interactions on the discussion forums, the works produced by the students (both individually and in small groups), and answers to questionnaires applied in the different stages of the investigation. In this particular case we are interested in exploring questions related to the process of knowledge convergence during online group work in Open and Distance Learning. Data analysis involved iterative analysis and revision of the coding scheme. Two of the researchers derived the initial coding key from the online discussion forums used during the group project phase of the Curricular Unit. Some of the codes were quantified in order to foster a more meaningful comparison of the data by allowing patterns to be identified and further explored (McConnell, 2006). In this study, it became clear that the more and less successful groups, in terms of their outcome or product, clearly revealed distinctive patterns of work, characterized by negotiation, research, conception and production. Moreover, particular patterns of work make decisive contributions for the participants' shared knowledge and knowledge convergence.
Descriptors: Constructivism (Learning), Computer Mediated Communication, Distance Education, Learning Processes, Data Analysis, Coding, Interaction, Group Dynamics, Group Activities, Cooperative Learning, Online Courses, Discussion Groups, Questionnaires, Discourse Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A