H808: Experience of an online group collaboration exercise


Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This post is a response to Activity 2.2 which was to discuss our own personal experiences of a group collaboration exercise.

Our first tutor group activity as a group was to collectively read a bunch of documents, use the information to fill in a template that identified drivers for the use of Eportfolios worldwide, and agree on the final version of the template.

On a personal note the timing of the activity was a challenge as I was personally stretched on completing the H800 EMA. However, this also helped me realise that in a group collaboration with adult professional learners, we don’t really know what constraints others are under and that that we need to account or allow for this.

The other challenges were that the group has only met asynchronously, has barely got to know the other members, and are part of a global cohort with different time zones as well as their own differing working patterns. The activity progressed reasonably well, but did not come to a closure with a perfectly completed and agreed-upon template since we ran out of time and other individual activities took priority.

However, there were some valuable lessons and gains, in particular efficient use of the OU wiki and an exploration of the google docs collaboration environment. Highlights were:

  1. One group member took the initiative to set up a wiki group reading page which not only helped with group note taking but helped my own use of the OU wiki; another took on the task of creating a google docs template and I initially kicked off a post about options for moving forward. All of these initiatives were supported and commented on by the group so we were able to get off to a good start.
  2. The group reading and commenting enabled others in group to share understanding when coming to similar conclusions about lack of clear drivers or not much information for ‘Elsewhere’.
  3. Being able to add and edit to a google docs template was a valuable skill.
  4. The activity was done with good humor and cooperation, which are huge positives in the context of this very new module since getting to know the  group and learning lessons for working another time are of immense value.

Some of the areas of challenge for group collaboration were familar to me and included:

  1. The distributed responsibility, no clear leader to drive the process, individuals’ difficulty accessing google docs, and lack of synchronous discussion made the process stutter along after a good start.
  2. Due to time commitments and other work on the week’s activities the activity did not really finish. Perhaps someone might have taken on this task just to catalogue the drivers in the template at the end as all the data was there.

Personally, this activity demonstrated proactivity (in setting out options for going forward) and enabled development in the technology competancy area (use of the OU wiki and google docs collaboration environment).



One thought on “H808: Experience of an online group collaboration exercise

  1. Hi I thought you identified a range of issues relating to collaborative learning such as diffculty to know how much effort each person can make, need for a leader, different members skills etcCheersAlan

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