Sharing and collaborating

Online learning, while offering a way to deliver assignments and content to you asynchronously, also offers you the opportunity to share and collaborate effectively. Two notions underpin the development of online courses:

  • meaningful learning
  • scaffolding.

Jonassen, Peck and Wilson (1999) describe meaningful learning as:

  • Active
  • Constructive
  • Intentional
  • Authentic
  • Cooperative.

How does this work in my course?

Your tutor will provide opportunities for meaningful learning, through chat rooms, e-mail links and discussion boards and internet searches. These opportunities offer guidance through carefully constructed activities that lead you from the known to the less well known. This is called 'scaffolding'.

In order to use these activities effectively, consider the skills you may develop:

  • language/content skills
  • negotiation
  • problem solving
  • reaching consensus
  • synthesizing/summarising
  • observation/analysis, identifying
  • giving feedback.

We encourage you to use every opportunity to share and collaborate, so that you begin to construct a body of skills, information and knowledge that you develop, hone and share with your classmates.

How do I do this?

Use: the discussion board - paste updated word processesed documents, allocate someone to synthesise your work, share URLs, share and comment on readings, new information, opinions. Your tutor can set up private discussion groups.

email - send each other your updated word processesed documents, allocate someone to synthesise your work. Use the email to set up chat sessions.

  • Your tutor can set up an email group for you.

chat rooms - note the rooms that are private. Use these to discuss your work, plans and to allocate tasks.

student presentations - this allows you to access shared folders, and to upload files.

  • Your tutor will set you up in a group. (Note: not all courses use this feature.)

the Internet - use the Internet to search for information, making sure you carefully evaluate sites and avoid plagiarising.

Reference: Jonassen, D.H., Peck, K.L., & Wilson, B.G. (1999). Learning with Technology: A Constructivist Perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.