Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Assessment and Collaboration in Online Learning

by Karen Swan (Kent State University), Jia Shen (New York Institute of Technology) and Starr Roxanne Hiltz (New Jersey Institute of Technology)

Journal of Asyncrhronous Learning Networks (JALN), Volume10 (1), February 2006.


"The theme of this paper is the importance of assessment to learning; that what is assessed is what is valued, and if you value collaboration as an instructor, you need to find ways to motivate students and to assess collaborative activity.

However, in most online courses, traditional instructor-centred examination remains the primary means for assessing student performance, and collaborative learning is undervalued and so marginalized. This paper addresses that issue.

The paper begins with an overview of the changing nature of assessment in education and addresses assessing collaboration online - why it is important and why it is difficult. It then explores in greater depth two common and quite different kinds of online collaboration, collaborative online discussion, and collaborative small group projects.

Finally, findings from a recent dissertation which introduced and measured the effectiveness of innovative collaborative examination procedures are summarized. In each of these areas we lay out the issues, theoretical and practical, involved in assessing online collaboration, as well as give examples of how to assess (and so encourage) individual and group work for differing sorts of activities." [emphasis added]

The research paper can be found HERE.


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