User:Vtaylor/Group projects/Exchanging Work on Projects

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Exchanging Work on Projects Norming: As conflicts are discovered and resolved, the group's approach to communication and problem-solving, for better or worse, is more firmly established.


   * How will the students pass work from one to another? How will they the determine what reviews and revisions are being performed and by whom?
   * Is technology a barrier? 


   * Understand the technologies for exchanging work, their strengths and limitations

group discussion LEARN

In the Norming phase everyone wants to share the newly found focus. Enthusiasm is high, and the team is tempted to go beyond the original scope of the process. During this stage, members reconcile competing loyalties and responsibilities. They accept the team, team ground rules, their roles in the team, and the individuality of fellow members. Emotional conflict is reduced as previously competitive relationships become more cooperative. As team members begin to work out their differences, they now have more time and energy to spend on the project.

This is the transformation phase. Students work together on their parts of the project. Ideally, students will pass drafts and completed documents or deliverbales back and forth for review and revision. Technology can help or hinder so knowing what options are available and how to utilize them are important.

Working on group project assignment activity

Students work collaboratively in small groups of 4-5 students using group project guidelines to plan and direct activities to complete the assignment [application][apply]

   * Monitor progress
   * Facilitate interaction
   * Assist in process issues
   * Work with students to resolve conflicts if they arise
   * Provide feedback 

Students should experience

   * Transformation
   * Interaction
   * Project coordination / management
   * Authority / responsibility
   * Communication


An extensive listing of online pedagogical techniques can be found on Morten Paulsen's World Wide Web homepage at as "The online report on pedagogical techniques for computer-mediated communication."


   * Make a list of 10-12 problems that you think might come up as your students work on their projects. Jot down some thoughts about preventing these problems, or responses to help students work through these difficulties.
   * As the students work through their project tasks, record observations of the group interactions. These notes will be helpful for assessing the performance for each group. 


   * Post a question or observation to the exchanging work discussion area.
   * Reply to two previous posts, adding your insights or describing similar experiences. 

Collaborative Environment

Designing a successful online collaborative environment is an iterative, cooperative process. Participants design the process, establish goals and define tasks that meet their needs and the requirements of the assigned project. The environment needs to be clear and easy to navigate so that participants can get to areas of interest directly.

The environment may incorporate any number of tools to support the work of the group. For example, all participants need to "Reply to All" when corresponding by email, to ensure that everyone is involved throughout the project, even if their role is passive through some portions of the work. Other technologies like threaded discussions are very helpful for ensuring that group members can follow all the interactions. It is important that participating in the collaboration is easy for all group members throughout the project.

Sharing Documents

One way to keep the group focused is to have a central document available to all participants. In addition to displaying documents around which collaboration is to take place, participants edit and develop the primary deliverable. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. Sharing can be achieved by careful communication and access via email, posting the document to a central server, or through the use of version control software. The only concern is that everyone have access to the most up-to-date version of the document and there be a system in place to prevent multiple updates and conflicts. One of the first tasks of the group is to work out how document sharing will be accomplished.

Student Experiences

I like this project because it is showing how hard communication can actually be, even though it seems easy. I realize that we are all trying to communicate but are doing so by varied means, we all have our favorite ways; email, phone, chat, discussion board but we are not meeting in these areas at the same time. So I'll post what works best for me: By day (9 to 4:30) you can email me or post to the board (I keep the board on my desktop most all day) or even call xxx. Evenings 8 to 10 I usually log on to BB again, but I do not check my email until the next morning, my home phone is xxx.

Classroom Discussions for the Twenty-first Century

This paper describes some research that shows that moderated online discussions improve student writing. It includes some speculation as to why this happens. The authors draw on Vygotsky to suggest that "children can perform at greater levels using peer collaboration with more capable peers." In an online forum, the more capable students are not separated from each other. "The level of performance for all students, not just the less able, will rise due to influence from more capable peers."$133