Enabling digital collaboration spaces for students

When setting group work tasks for your students, do you provide them with a digital space where they can easily collaborate? Whether the task requires a group or individual submission, it’s possible to create a space within FLO for each group to discuss and create their work.

FLO contains several tools that lend themselves to group collaboration, that can be added to the topic by the topic coordinator. Which tools are the most appropriate will depend upon the task, but all can be used in group mode.

If you’re running an activity or assessment and want to manage who is in each group, you can set up the groups within your topic and apply them to the chosen tools to create dedicated collaboration spaces. If you would prefer students to manage their own groups, you can use the group self-selection tool. Simply create an empty grouping and apply it to the group self-selection activity and the tool your students will collaborate in. As students create their group, it’s automatically added to that grouping and their collaboration space is created immediately.

The forum, blog, or wiki can be used to provide students with a space for asynchronous discussion and sharing of information via links or attachments. Each of these can have groups and groupings applied to allow student groups to have a private space to collaborate. Keeping discussions and sharing within the topic means students are still bound by Flinders netiquette rules. Importantly, it also means staff can access the work students are doing within their collaboration spaces to provide support and advice as and when required.

To enable synchronous discussion students could use Collaborate. The Course room is a space that’s always open where students can arrange to meet, but they do need to understand it is not a private space just for their group. Any student or staff member can enter this space at any time. It’s not possible to create ‘private’ sessions for students within Collaborate, but a session that individual groups could book for their own use may be an option. This would rely on topic participants being respectful to each other and not interrupting each other’s sessions. If these suggestions within Collaborate are feasible options, you should consider editing the course room or session settings. Making the default attendee role ‘presenter’ will allow students to share their work; making the default attendee role ‘moderator’ will allow students to record their session, again being aware that recordings will be accessible by all participants. These ideas could be appropriate for a class activity that’s not assessed, for example to provide students with an opportunity to practice a skill they may later be assessed on. For text based synchronous discussion you could set up the Chat tool using the students’ groups.

There are so many options! Have a chat to your eLearning (FLO) staff support team about what might be right for you and your students.

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Ed Design

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