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Internet Based Reciprocation and Cooperation Amongst Students

We live in a time when knowledge and information are becoming increasingly important for development. It is becoming crucial for the student community to participate in network based shared environment of learning(Johnson and Johnson).Cooperation is instructional groups working together to achieve a shared goal(Panitz).Cooperative learning provides the opportunity to maximize ones own learning and enhance that of the others in the group.The rapid growth of the internet allows students all over the world to create shared spaces.One of the most important aspect of student cooperation over the internet is that it enables students to communicate without being physically present.The experiences of study groups,collaborative learning, group problem solving and discussing assignments can be dramatically enhanced by communicating over the internet. Internet based cooperation amongst students can be synchronous or asynchronous or a combination of both. Synchronous cooperation or simultaneous cooperation can be achieved through tools such as video conferences, internet telephony or online chats, what may be called a virtual classroom. However the biggest success story in this area has been asynchronous cooperation(Johnson and Johnson). Time delayed communication opportunities brought on by the internet has provided students with possibilities of cooperation that is independent of time and space.

Impact of Technology on Cooperation Amongst Students

There are three prominent theories that have guided the study of cooperative learning, namely, Cognitive Developmental perspective, Behavioral Theory perspective and Social Interdependence Theory( Johnson and Johnson). According to the Cognitive Developmental Theory when students cooperate cognitive conflicts occur that create cognitive disequilibrium, which lead to the formation of perspective taking ability and cognitive development of the individuals.The Behavioral Theory perspective focuses on the reinforcement of group rewards on learning and learning through imitation.Probably the most important theory in this respect is the Theory of Social Interdependence which claims that social interdependence exists when individuals share a common goal and the outcome and achievement of actions of each individual affects that of the others.Under this situation, when the individuals are positively correlated they can perceive that they can achieve the shared goal if and only if everybody in the group reaches their individual goals, thus individuals seek outcomes that are beneficial to everybody in the group.Cooperative learning promotes high efforts towards achieving goals, positive relationship with peers and good mental health as opposed to competitive learning which may fathom negative relationships with peers and psychological illness( Johnson and Johnson).So the major areas of development of a student that are impacted by reciprocation to other students and cooperation are effort to achieve, positive interpersonal relationship, psychological health, individual accountability/personal responsibility, positive interaction, social skills and group processing.

With the increasing availability of new tools of communication through computer technology and the internet, borders and boundaries of cooperation amongst students are diminishing. New tools enable individuals to interact irrespective of time and space. These technologies also open up the possibilities of cooperation amongst students in the intercultural and international context. The tools offered by these technologies can only be beneficial to cooperation amongst students and the development of the individual student and student community in general.


1)David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson,Cooperation and the Use of Technology,

2)Ted Panitz,Collaborative Versus Cooperative Learning- A comparison of the two Concepts which will help us understand the underlying nature of interactive learning,

3)Arthur W. Chickering and Stephen C. Ehrmann, Implementing The Seven Principles,,%20Ehrmann%20and%20Chickering.pdf

4)David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson,Cooperative Learning And Social Interdependence Theory,

5)Slavin,Sharan, Kagan, Lazarowitz,Webb and Schmuck,Learning to cooperate, cooperating to learn,,M1