WK 4. “Implementing Web 2.0 technologies in higher education: A collective case study”: Collaboration versus Cooperation:

Posted: October 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

In the article, Bennet et al bring up the difference between cooperation and collaboration with a negative connotation. They consider it as one of the disadvantages of developing materials in a wiki and also as one of the problems that the students felt towards this technique. They consider it as a problem, since it made it hard for the instructors to know the amount and quality of the effort that each student put on the development of the wiki. It also made it possible for the students to only take part in the type of work that they were familiar with and was easier for them to achieve, rather than coming up with original ideas and contributing fully to the assignments and learning and putting effort in all the dimensions of the exercise.

This made me wonder if the cooperative method would be necessarily a wrong approach in students’ interactions, or if designed properly, can be constructive in the classroom. For example, maybe in a class exercise where the interaction with the students has a more cooperative nature, the students can share the responsibilities in between each other and each take over a task that they feel competent at and take pleasure in doing. Therefore not only would they enjoy doing the exercise more, get to practice the collaborative method of working in the industry, where usually people have separate tasks but pass their results to one another to complete a bigger task together. This type of exercise or take-home assignment requires much better pre-planning, flexibility and evaluation techniques by the instructor. For example he/she should pay attention to the quality as well as the amount of work that each student put on his/her task and evaluate the student based on that.

The instructor can also ask the students to make progress report and final presentation, where each student would present the specific contribution to the whole work and how his/her work helped in making his/her group mates’ work stronger in addition to how much creativity, originality and research he/she has brought in the project. For example, one exercise could be to ask the students to make a website for the class together. They can create smaller groups. Each group can have a subject with different branches, and the students can each take responsibilities in one or more components of the website’s development. One can take care of research around the subject; one can use the data to create contents; one can come up with creative graphs and questions and games around the subject; and one can be the graphics designers and create the visuals for the website as well as interesting story boards about the subject or the questions/issues they work on. This creative paradigm can be very constructive, if properly designed.

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