These include activities that promote learning through social interaction. By using online social networking technologies, your institution can incorporate collaborative activities that encourage students to interact and work together.
Students can work with others on the course, alumni or with open participants to learn and to produce collaborative content. Your institution can also provide opportunities for students to work collaboratively with professionals online, and support them to have authentic, real-life interactions.
Challenges and benefits
Some students may find it very challenging to work collaboratively online. Your institution will need to ensure that all learners have the technical and communication skills needed to get the most out of their learning.
More importantly, students need to understand the benefits of working this way. Your institution will need to help them to develop trust in each other and staff, to learn effectively with people they have not met face-to-face.
Our technology and tools for online learning guide considers a wide range of tools that can help students interact with each other online. Students with autism may find this way of working particularly challenging and may need more support, although they may prefer to collaborate online rather than face-to-face.
It may be difficult for staff to assess contributions with collaborative approaches, so your institution may need to identify ways to track and measure interactions.
Students need clear guidance on how to record and show their collaboration. For example, if students produce a collaborative wiki page, they can identify their contributions in some way, or the teacher can use automated tracking mechanisms to find out who has logged on and edited a page.