Course Design and Online Group Collaboration — What’s the Connection?

This blog posting may not give me an overall set of professional skills that I can use in instructional design, but it does focus on five important course design strategies to use in the area of developing good interactions that support group collaborations for online courses. I currently teach face-to-face 8th grade math at Red Mountain Middle School in Deming, New Mexico and I will need to know how to use these instructional design strategies when developing online classes for teaching or instructing any class within any class setting. In online courses using effective group collaboration is a key component of not only engaging students but also assessing their learning. Collaboration is a skill that everyone in the 21st century should attain and as a teacher, I should develop lessons that guide my students to deeper learning while developing collaboration skills.

Online Learning Insights

teamwork

Facilitating group work in an online course for instructors is often the most challenging aspect of teaching an online class. The amount of time invested by students and the instructor in the group process can be significant; unfortunately there’s often more time spent on logistics of the assignment than on meaningful learning. But there is a solution that significantly improves the process and the outcome. It’s course design. Effective course design, which includes the timing, description and instructions for the group project, is a determining factor in the quantity, quality and type of interactivity (Swan, 2001). Facilitation skills of the instructor is another factor, more so when the instructor uses a specific skill set that supports meaningful group interaction. In this post I focus on the course design component. Though I’ve written several posts about group work, I want to share with readers findings from a journal article “Creating Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment” (Brindley, Waiti & Blaschke, 2009) that emphasizes the connection between…

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