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Collaboration on teamwork projects across borders

By JE Whatley and F Bell

Abstract

TLQIS funding enabled us to investigate the effect upon our students of collaborating with\ud students at another European institution to exchange expertise and evaluate their work.\ud Salford’s TLQIS scheme funded a pilot study to develop a framework for resources for\ud collaboration, that will be expanded into a larger scale project for which we are applying for\ud funding, e.g. from the Minerva programme.\ud Online learning is being used to enable wider participation in higher education. The module\ud Developing Systems for Teaching and Learning (DSTL) enables students to experience some\ud of the possible forms of CMC (computer-mediated communication) to facilitate online\ud learning. As part of the module, they are expected to reflect upon their own and others’\ud learning styles and preferences, so that they can appreciate situations in which the various\ud tools might be appropriate (Cowan, 1998). Learning how to learn is an important general aim\ud of higher education (Nightingale & O'Neil, 1997), that is specifically articulated in this module\ud as the abilities to reflect on their own learning and that of others, by reflective evaluation of\ud work produced by other students. It is collaboration by means of mutual evaluation that has\ud been the subject of this project.\ud This project builds on the benefits achieved by a previous TLQIS project (Bell, Jones, &\ud Procter, 1998) in two ways. First, this work is a further development of the DSTL module,\ud adding value to the content and activities already developed. Secondly, by involving\ud Frances Bell as the Evaluator, the previous work done on discussion and reflection can\ud contribute to research and inform development.\ud The DSTL module mixes online presentation of material with face-to-face sessions and\ud tutorials, so that students are in regular contact with each other and the tutor. However, as the\ud students are campus based, they did not always use the CMC tools for evaluating each\ud other’s work, as was required for the assessment. Instead, not unreasonably, they discussed\ud their projects face to face. DSTL students were required to engage in online evaluation for\ud two reasons:\ud to gain a realistic experience of using the CMC tools that play an important role in Information\ud and Communications Technology (ICT)-based systems for teaching and learning\ud to engage with students from other countries, and see what benefits this may bring.\ud Computer mediated communication (CMC) tools, such as conferencing, email, discussion\ud forums support the communication needs for the task roles of group projects, examples\ud include studies of co-operative learning in a virtual university (English & Yazdani, 1998)and\ud groupwork in mathematics teaching, (Hendson, 1997). However, participation can be an issue\ud for online students,(Hill & Raven, 2000). A previous TLQIS-funded project has investigated\ud groupware for supporting students (Bell et al., 1998)

Topics: LB2300, other
Publisher: University of Salford
OAI identifier: oai:usir.salford.ac.uk:2078

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