Exhaustive research on the benefit of collaborative learning can be found in the literature. It has been determined that working in groups allows learners to share the ideas and develop new, authentic solutions to problems they are trying to solve, and, while doing so, acquire useful knowledge of theories and concepts (Siegel et al., 2001). Exchanging information is an important part of learning together because knowledge is constructed socially through joint efforts towards common objectives (Pea, 1993). Through interaction, people use their higher order thinking skills and advance their knowledge while actively engaged in learning (Vygotsky, 1986).
Yet, as presented in this unit, collaborative learning activities in the online environment can sometimes present challenges for various reasons. Nonetheless, the expectations for building community through collaborative activities ultimately become the responsibility of the online faculty member.
For this Discussion, present an idea for a collaborative activity to be included in your online course and establish guidelines for how the activity will be completed. Begin by describing the graded activity, and go on to relate how you would assign the learners to groups (suppose that your course has an enrollment of 15 students). Next, define what tasks will need to be completed and how the assignment will be carried out, and explain how learner performance will be appraised. Discuss any potential challenges you and your students might face in completing this group assignment and how you might solve them. Finally, critique the activities that at least two of your classmates have created and offer commentary (from the perspective of a student) on what you might think of their activity and approach.
For this Discussion, please use the list of suggested journals to identify at least one article to support your position.