I like the reflection here in Collaboration Online . Jenny writes:
“Can tutors prepare students for this – Yes, of course – good teaching doesn’t change just because it’s online. Obviously there are things that you can do face-to-face (like a science field trip to study rock pools on a Northumberland beach) that would not be possible to capture in exactly the same way online, but an awful lot of what we do face-to-face can now be done online.”
Collaborative learning is both an art and science, I suppose.
It may not be for everyone, especially when people don’t have liked minds, or not willing to share with each other, or that there are some personality crashes. That is human nature.
So, it is challenging especially if it is to be done online. Sometimes there may be conflicting views, arguments or strong criticisms between people, and such connections and interactions may result in alienation.
It could also be one of the most difficult tasks in this world, as people have different needs and expectations.
If one is mixing and matching each other (learners) to collaborate, then some socialisation and consultation would surely help all parties.
A metaphor for collaboration is love formation and development amongst couples.
During dating, the lovers would think they could work things out together upon meetings and engagement. This is in preparation for the marriage forthcoming. After marriage, the partners must collaborate to ensure a happy family. Otherwise, that would lead to separation or a divorce.
I have witnessed such happy and unhappy endings with face-to-face and on-line learning. So, as an educator, we could facilitate such “matching” if possible, but that we must let go of the thinking that it would always work. Collaboration could be complex and emergent in nature.
Adaptation, consultation and a flexible mindset in collaboration would help us (educators) to cater for the learners’ needs.
So, would this be any different from the learning situation and environment, especially with the on-line situation, where trust and commitment (and reciprocity) is crucial to the success of collaboration?