Sunday, July 17, 2011

Module 3- Blog Post

Assessing Collaborative Efforts
When looking at how to assess individuals in a collaborative learning community, instructors must find new ways to assess students from traditional methods.  Siemens suggests that instructors use one of the four models where students assess their peers, students receive feedback from online communities, educators assess based on student contribution, or educators assess based on metrics from learning management systems (Siemens, 2008).   This allows students to be assessed in a fair manner that is tied to stated outcomes.  Students should also be assessed in terms of individual growth.  According to Siemens (2008), student assessments should be on an individual basis beyond the mark.  This shows how students show progression from where they started and end up.  This type of assessment also allows instructors to be flexible and be fair and equitable to students individually.    Siemens (2008) further states that assessment is not only for the student but it is teaching based that gives the educator feedback and guides for future instruction.
Collaboration in a learning community can sometimes be difficult to achieve.  Communication is essential to ensure all members are aware of what role they must play in completing assignments.  There are some who prefer to work individually and complete assignments alone.  In instances like this, members should consult with the instructor to step in.  Palloff and Pratt (2005) state that instructors may need to intervene in cases of under participation to minimize frustration and any conflict.  Because of the nature of online courses and the lack of F2F interaction, collaboration and participation are integral components to online learning.  As a result, the instructor may assess individuals on their lack of participation. 


Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San      Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Siemens, G. (2008). Assessment of collaborative learning. Vodocast. Laureate Education, Inc.

Other Comments


  1. Tiffany,
    I feel students gain a wealth of confidence when they are able to see a progressive assessment tool being used to compare their gains in knowledge and performance. Also, students are wonderful resources for each other in collaborative online settings as well as face to face settings. I enjoyed your post. Debra

  2. Tiffany,
    Your post was great. I think a well-laid plan of expectations and an understanding of why collaboration is so important is important and a big part of building the foundation that students will use as they realize the importance of the collaborative components of a class.

    However, do you think it ever may be necessary to allow a student to work alone? I ask because I know there are special circumstances that impact students (just as those in a face-to-face envirnment) that may indicate this as a viable solution. What do you think?

  3. Tiffany,

    You're right. Online collaboration can be a slippery slope. But for someone like myself who has toiled in both a virtual and a traditional classroom environment for a lot longer than I care to admit, once those apprehensions are eased on the part of the student in an online and distance education environment, positive things start happening for all concerned.

    Let's face it. Distance education is never going to reach the comfort level of some online users, compared to face-to-face communication. But all the advantages of distance education we keep harping on, and the ones espoused by the authors you have referred to, have made the online environment more palatable in this highly sophisticated information age than ever before. We can thank interactivity, collaboration, creative ways of assessment, etc., for that, and I suppose we can only go up in online and distance education comfort from