Facilitating Collaboration in Online Groups
Demonstrating the ability to collaborate effectively is essential for students moving into 21st century workplaces. Employers are expecting new hires to already possess group-work skills and will seek evidence of their ability to cooperate, collaborate, and complete projects with colleagues, including remotely or at a distance. Instructional activities and assignments that provide students with a variety of ways to engage each other have a direct and immediate effect on their academic performance. This paper shares the Facilitating Collaboration in Online Groups (FCOG) instructional planning strategy. The strategy is designed for faculty use and familiarizes students with the process and technology necessary to collaborate effectively in online classroom groups. The strategy utilizes proven teaching techniques to maximize student-student and student-content relationships. Each of the four (4) sequential phases in the FCOG instructional planning strategy are discussed: 1) Creating Groups, 2) Establishing Expectations, 3) Communication Tools, and 4) Assignments and Activities. The discussion also contains implementation suggestions as well as examples of instructional assignments and activities that provide students with a variety of ways to collaborate to reach the learning outcomes.