July 5, 2006 to July 7, 2006
Michael Lawrence-Slater , The University of Sydney, Australia
Many factors come into play in the creation of collaborative groups. These include the assessment of skills and abilities of potential members as well as social cues. In online courses, when groups are to be formed over the network, participants know nothing of each other - not even what they look like. This paper reports on an online course where the participants, situated in three institutions, over two continents, formed groups online and successfully completed a collaborative project. To enable this, participants posted a brief biography showing their interests, the degree being studied, their institutional affiliation, an email address, name and an image of themselves (ideally, but not necessarily, their proper name and a photograph). Participants then accessed these details and "met" others with a view to forming a group. This technique not only enabled the formation of groups, but also, at the outset of the course, demonstrated that participants could successfully collaborate online. In the course experience survey, the participants rated this method highly both for its function and as a community-building facility.
Michael Lawrence-Slater, "Facilitating the Self-Formation of Collaborative Groups, Online", ICALT, 2006, Sixth International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, Sixth International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies 2006, pp. 526-528, doi:10.1109/ICALT.2006.172