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Teaching Online in Texts and Technology

Contributors

Daniel teaches a variety of writing courses at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in the Texts and Technology program at UCF, and his research interests include digital publication, speculative literature, and rhetorical studies.

Additional Reference Materials

List of Resources

About the Resources on this Page:

These resources include practical suggestions on building and assessing collaborative learning projects for writing students taking digital courses. The texts below include both popular and academic resources, and they include specific pedagogical materials (presentations, templates, worksheets) as well as useful theoretical frameworks for incorporating successful collaborative learning projects in digital environments.

Taken together, the materials listed here represent a useful starting point for considering whether collaborative learning is useful for your student groups, and how to best design, implement, and assess these assignments if you choose to adopt this practice.

Awalt, Carolyn, and Paul E. Resta. “Using Peer Assessment in the Design of Online Collaborative Learning Environments.” educause. Educause: Jan. 2002. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

The authors present their findings on the implementation of an evaluation system that allows for the constructive measurement of individual and group accountability in the collaborative process. The materials include a slideshow presentation on methods and rationale, as well as templates and forms for conducting the assessments.

Boling, Erica C., et. al. “Using Online Tools for Communication and Collaboration: Understanding Educators’ Experiences in an Online Course.” Annual Meeting of the Literacy Research Association. Jacksonville, 2011. ERIC. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.

This paper details the findings of a design-based research study on the experiences of educators in using Web 2.0 tools to facilitate collaboration in online courses. The piece specifically examines the Cognitive Apprenticeship Model (CAM) and offers specific suggestions on instructional design practices, software adoption, and project assessment.

“Collaborative Learning.” The Wallace Center, Rochester Institute of Technology. wallacecenter. Teaching and Learning Services. n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

Provides a comprehensive overview of the benefits of collaborative learning, how to facilitate successful collaborative projects online, and how to assess these projects. The site includes useful quotations from teaching faculty and a wealth of specific suggestions on using discussion, interdependence, and peer evaluation to facilitate meaningful collaboration. This resource takes a broad view, but it also offers suggestions on activities as sensible as having students append subject lines to keep the discussion fresh and varied.

Conrad, Rita-Marie. “Assessing Collaborative Learning.” Encyclopedia of Distance Learning. Ed. Patricia Rogers, et al. Vol. 1. (2009): 89-94. E-book. 12 Feb. 2014.

Conrad explores multiple perspective assessment. This method takes into account peer and self-assessment as additional components of evaluation. Rather than assigning a grade to the group as a unit, students must think critically about their contributions, as well as the contributions of their peers. This assessment method addresses the problem of work equity that so often surfaces in group learning activities.

Jo Coaplen, Carrie, Ericka Tonise Hollis and Ray Bailey. “Going Beyond the Content: Building Community Through Collaboration in Online Teaching.” Researcher: An Interdisciplinary Journal 26.3 (2013): 1-19. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

Provides perspectives on successful collaborative teaching strategies from an instructional designer, an instructional librarian, and a teaching faculty member. This practical essay includes anecdotes on the design and teaching practices, as well as specific suggestions on creating groups, using software, and assessing content. Excellent overview of the contemporary field.

Guan, Sharon. “Is ‘Teamwork’ an Oxymoron for Online Learning?” iddblog. IDDblog, DePaul University. 31 Jul. 2009. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

Guan summarizes her dissertation research on incorporating team activities in digital course environments. The article posits some important design considerations for instructors just beginning to consider digital collaboration, including the formation of groups, weighting of teamwork activities, progress monitoring by faculty, and cognitive/affective outcomes in relation to course objectives. This is a very useful place to begin the exploration of digital collaborative learning.

Mote, Chad W., Yasmin Kafai and Quinn Burke. “Epic win: inspire engagement through online competitions and collaborations.” Learning and Leading With Technology 41.4 (2013): 16-22. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

This short article provides a reflective perspective on a novel approach to using competition in the online environment to engage students in collaborating on animated music videos. It’s a refreshing piece for thinking creatively about harnessing new media tools and activities to inspire group investment within the online environment. While not perfectly applicable to the practice of teaching writing online, the piece’s lessons on instructional design and creative incentivizing can provide inspiration to the digital facilitator.

Schmidgall, Dee. “Working with Wikis.” iddblog. IDDblog, DePaul University. 23 Jun. 2009. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

Instructional designer Dee Schmidgall’s succinct set of suggestions on using wikis for class-wide collaboration includes discussions on navigation, scaffolding content, and designing templates. The wiki model of collective knowledge creation mirrors the kind of collaboration frequently found in the workplace, and is a useful tool for inspiring large-scale collaboration.

Stanford, Daniel. “Back to Basics: Free Tools I Can’t Live Without.” iddblog. IDDblog, DePaul University. 5 Oct. 2009. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

Stanford, an instructional materials designer, provides descriptions and links to free digital collaboration tools (VoiceThread, Viddler, and PBworks). He also describes the positive attributes of these tools, and how he has integrated them into some of the digital courses he has helped design.

Stevenson, Michael, and John G. Hedberg. “Learning and design with online real-time collaboration.” Educational Media International 50.2 (2013): 120-134. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

Examines the practice of real-time collaboration through a research pilot looking at multiple student groups working with cloud-based writing tools. The research study is instructive for those interested in assignment management, and the authors discuss potential pitfalls for real-time collaboration that should be taken into account during the instructional design phase. These pitfalls include technological skills acquisition and variances in learning styles. Still, the researchers conclude that products such as Google docs are useful ancillaries in creating dynamic digital collaboration in real time.