3. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel

We’re coming to a submission point in our collaborative project; our set of instructions will move to the French team members on Monday (20th February), for the translation stage. We agreed to share the fifth draft of the instructions by 6 pm today (17th) and post comments and final edits over the weekend.

What are the learning objectives for our online collaboration project?

The following objectives are relevant for a group collaboration project (Dobbin et al., 2010):

  1. Identify team members’ strengths and allocate tasks according to strengths
  2. Create and foster a learning community
  3. Adapt to collaborating with others who are geographically dispersed
  4. Develop higher-order thinking skills
  5. Develop collaborative teamwork skills, which we can apply in our [future] careers or research.

Have we achieved those objectives?

Each team member indicated his or her area of expertise and tasks were allocated accordingly – everyone got what they asked for. I do not consider ‘Team 7’ as a learning community although individual learning took place; some members shared and other members ‘lurked’. We tried to assign deadlines in accordance with the time differences, however it wasn’t viable to consider each team members schedule. We developed (Helen and I) strategic skills in response to a lack of participation from some team members. The team experience has been valuable; I can apply the learning from the experience to my co-ordinators role at NUI Galway.

Is the amount of work involved in this collaborative project worth the percentage of the overall mark?

At the beginning of the collaboration, we took time to listen to each other and agreed the terms of reference for the project. We agreed to: follow a style template; check the discussion forum daily; respond to queries swiftly and keep the project moving towards completion. Unfortunately, only UL team members adhered to the terms of reference. As mentioned above, Helen and I adapted strategically; when team members failed to submit or respond to queries, we carried on working. Given the value of the project; 20% of a 3 ECTS module, we couldn’t pause for missing members. We agreed to proceed with active participants and the content that we gathered. To answer my question; I think it’s our responsibility to decide how much time we allocate to the project. If the project was worth more, we would have invested more. In conclusion, the marks allocated to this project informed the amount of time we invested. Maybe this is a reason why some members failed to engage – perhaps it’s not worth enough, given competing academic commitments.

References

Dobbin, G., Diaz, V., Brown, M. and Salmons, J. (2010). Unit 4: Assessment of Collaborative Learning Project Outcomes. ELI Discovery tool: Guide to collaborative learning. Educause, 1(1). Available at: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI80084.pdf (Accessed: 17 February 2017).

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