TEP TeachBlog headerTEATalks: Collaborative Applications and Collaborative Learning « Teaching Effectiveness Program

TEATalks: Collaborative Applications and Collaborative Learning

page from wikipedia on collaborative learningIn our second TEATalks meeting we focused on collaborative applications and learning.   The main area we explored was the idea of using technologies like Google Docs, word processing documents, and wikis for creating collaborative learning spaces for students.

We hope to continue this collaborative learning discussion through all of our future sessions.   As part of this discussion Sean and I set up a collaborative Google Doc that we hope others will contribute to.  The document is an ongoing work in progress to address our vision(s) for educational technology and our questions about that technology.  If you are part of the TEATalks group and want to be added to the document let us know (rmorris1@uoregon.edu)

We didn’t really get to the overarching discussion about “what is collaborative learning?”  In many ways what we hope this series of presentations will do is highlight unique approaches to working with students in the creation of strong learning communities.  Learning communities that not only have a strong instructional presence, but also a vibrant and robust student presence of content creation, peer learning, and peer discussion. What would be interesting to add to the Google Doc is a “survey” addressing how instructors and faculty would answer the following:

  • What is collaborative learning?
  • In what specific ways do you approach collaborative learning in your instruction?
  • Do you have specific technologies you use to enhance this collaborative learning?

Here are some TEP resource pages on the topic of collaborative learning:

As for “collaborative applications” goes, it is of interest to look at what type of collaborative based tools are out there (especially now that the whole “Web 2.0” designation has faded a bit from the discussion).  I came up with the following categories, but wonder if there are more:

  • Selective Project Based = Applications that focus more on a very selective project that most of the time works towards a final closed version but in which multiple participants work on, such as Google Docs.
  • Community Project Based = Applications that are seen as more open and where the focus is not as much a “project” with designated individuals taking part as a group, but one that focuses on an anonymous community creating content, such as Wikipedia.
  • Commentaries and Feedback = This “application” is the comment areas found on blog and video sharing sites, and where individuals can comment to the content presented.  This last one I believe is a bit overlooked, especially in terms of how a good amount of this commentary becomes “troll” like in terms of being more insulting versus constructive.  At the same time though one can find some excellent collaborative commentary in these areas (I find for the most part The Chronicle of Higher Education comments to be interesting and constructive in bringing in other viewpoints).

Finally, next week’s (April 27th, Week 4) presentation will be on Mendeley.  Christopher Lee, Ph.D student in Lillis Business College will present to us how he manages his bibliographic citations using the tool known as Mendeley.  Mendeley is a tool that acts as a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research (Mendeley site:  http://www.mendeley.com/).

Hope to see you Friday, and as always please feel free to invite any colleagues who might be interested in the session. This session will be held in the McKenzie Collaboration Center, 175 McKenzie Hall.

-Robert Voelker-Morris

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