Oregon State University|blogs.oregonstate.edu

Collaboration; why is it important in the classroom?

  March 13th, 2018

Collaboration has been apart of our educational experience for decades, and continues to be a crucial part of learning in the classroom, even in college. Collaboration between peers has been a great way to gain connections in the classroom to widen the support system in the particular class. This support system can help you through assignments, projects, questions, and even as a study group for an exam. Classrooms depend on collaboration so heavily throughout education. Now, imagine a classroom without collaboration; would it still be a classroom? This is what online classes are facing. There is an online platform for a classroom, with a little collaboration here and there (in a formal setting), yet no real collaboration between peers. There is no platform for peers to connect casually to ask these crucial questions about projects or assignment, and no place to build a group for studying for an exam.  

Oregon State University’s online courses currently has a discussion board for peers to connect and communicate through. Most online courses have mandatory postings each week to encourage collaboration between students. This is a step in the right direction, however, it is not providing enough collaboration between students that is necessary for educational purposes. The collaboration that take place is in a formal setting, and is through structured assignments. Though this is collaboration, this is not the type of collaboration that causes breakthroughs in learning, and creates a deeper understanding of the subject at hand.

The system in place for collaboration in our classrooms is not adequate for our students. It lacks the peer-to-peer connection that is necessary for learning and thriving in the classroom. The key to efficacy of collaborative learning is social interaction, and lack there of causes negative effectiveness of collaborative learning. There is limited social interaction in online classes, therefore collaboration is stunted by the lack of social interaction. Furthermore, sociocognitive theorists describe learning as an interactive group activity in which learners actively construct knowledge and then build upon that said knowledge through the exchange of ideas with others. Without collaboration and social interaction, students are not able to build upon said knowledge through the exchange of ideas with others.

The lack of collaborative learning and social interaction through online classes is a problem for online courses. Collaboration is a crucial part of learning and developing in the classroom, and without this key element, is the classroom really the same? Overall, no, the classroom is not the same. Without social interaction and collaboration, we fail to provide the best education possible for our distance education students. There are a variety of methods and ways that we can improve these distance education courses, including, but not limited to, the following: having a group chat for casual interactions, having a “students near me” function for online courses, having assigned small groups per each course to discuss topics with, and a variety of other possible solutions. In further articles, there will be a deeper discussion of the possible solutions to this issue.

Writer: Aiyana Bankston

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One Response to “Collaboration; why is it important in the classroom?”

  1. The information you provided is useful to everyone. I was really wondered about the information provided in the blog. Thanks for sharing valuable tips.

    Comment by APJ Smart Works - March 14th, 2018 @ 5:58 am

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