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Collaborative and cooperative approaches to online group work: The impact of task type
Distance education (2005)
  • Trena M. Paulus, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

One purpose of online group projects is to encourage collaborative dialogue for new knowledge construction. During such projects students have a dual objective: learn through constructing new knowledge together while also completing the task. Cooperative approaches to task completion are an alternative to collaborative dialogue. The impact of task type on collaborative versus cooperative approaches to group projects has not been greatly examined in online environments. Transcripts of 10 small groups completing two types of tasks, synthesis or application, in an online graduate course were analyzed using Herring's computer-mediated discourse analysis and Pearson's chi-square tests to determine (a) whether groups took a collaborative or cooperative approach to task completion when explicitly encouraged to collaborate; and (b) whether the type of task affected the approach used. Overall, groups chose to cooperate more than collaborate, with application task groups taking a significantly more cooperative approach and synthesis task groups a significantly more collaborative approach. Implications for the design of online group tasks are discussed.

  • distance education,
  • task type
Publication Date
Citation Information
Trena M. Paulus. "Collaborative and cooperative approaches to online group work: The impact of task type" Distance education Vol. 26 Iss. 1 (2005)
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