Teachers Who Are Trying!

January 17, 2010

Module 3 musings….How should participation in a collaborative learning community be assessed? How do the varying levels of skill and knowledge students bring to a course affect the instructor’s “fair and equitable assessment” of learning? If a student does not want to network, what should the other members of the learning community do? What role should the instructor play? What impact would this have on his or her assessment plan?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by cordelia @ 12:49 am

Participation within an online learning community should be assessed through the following:

  1. Number of meaningful interactions with community members
  2. Variety of interaction – participants interact with the majority of community members consistently

Participant skill and knowledge level will always impact learning. This is inherent in any learning community, whether face-to-face or online. The focus of instruction should be on moving each learner forward on his/her academic journey. Reflective, authentic learning involves both success and failure. Therefore instruction should focus on reflective practice in applying knowledge and skills to personal and professional tasks rather than on equitable levels of knowledge across a community of learners.

Honestly, a student who does not want to learn in an online environment should not enroll in online courses. The opportunity for face-to-face instruction is everywhere, therefore, there is no reason for resistance of participation. Having said that, this situation does exist and so needs to be addressed. Students who are resistant to participating should be encouraged by group members and positively reinforced when they to participate. I have also found that if the group meets synchronously online (i.e. through Skype) during the course, a sense of support, trust, and comradeship develops that results in greater participation of the resistant student. The instructor should monitor student involvement closely and contact resistant students private to encourage participation. If participation does not increase, this should be reflected in the grade for that particular student, but not for the group as a whole.
Anderson, T. (Ed.). (2008). The theory and practice of online learning (2nd ed.). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.



  1. Jennifer, it so much easier when you can rely on a team member to keep up with work and to display it in a timely way, as opposed to having to fish (or is it phish) for it in barren seas. While I don’t stand in judgment of any individual, it’ hard to deny that the tenets of community and collaboration are undermined.


    Comment by Jesus Berrios — January 17, 2010 @ 8:47 pm |Reply

  2. Hi Jesus,
    I agree. Which is why I find that blogging for collaboration is difficult at best. The wiki is a better vehicle for communal work. Blogs are meant for individual reflection. Would you agree?

    Comment by Jennifer — January 18, 2010 @ 3:49 am |Reply

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