University of Southampton

Collaborating in coursework online

Students collaborating online

Collaborating online

Collaboration or working with other students is a normal part of study in higher education. Collaboration increasingly takes place online as well as in face-to-face learning. Collaborating may involve speaking and listening and/or communicating using voice or text-based channels. What requirements are there for collaborating online? Is collaborating online very different from collaborating face-to-face? And what kind of tools are best suited for online collaborations?

In these activities you can listen to some students talking about their preferred online collaboration tools. You will also think about the skills needed for working together online and consider the potential of some specific tools for collaborative work.

Activity 1: Which tools do you use to collaborate online?

What do you think are the most popular online collaboration tools among students? In this activity you are going to listen to some students explaining what tools they prefer to use and how.



Watch the video to find out which are the most popular online collaboration tools among students and how they use them. First think about how you work with other students online and try to predict what you think popular tools will be. Make a notes of any tools mentioned and their purposes in the text area provided. Then read the feedback.

Activity 2: Needs for effective online collaboration

What are the requirements for collaborating online as opposed to face-to-face? Are they different or essentially the same? In this activity you are going to consider what participant skills and needs there are for effective collaboration online.



Look at these participant skills and needs and decide which apply only to face-to-face collaboration, which only to online collaboration, and which apply to both kinds of collaboration. Drag and drop the items into the correct box and then read the feedback.

Face-to-face collaboration
Online collaboration
Any collaboration
being punctual for meetings
cooperating not competing
ensuring everyone is skilled in tool use
finding suitable physical location to meet
fixed meetings across time zones
legible paper records
selecting an appropriate tool to use
turntaking when speaking and listening
working towards common defined goals

Activity 3: Which tools can help you collaborate in course work online?

In this activity you are going to explore some commonly-used online tools that could serve for study collaboration purposes.



Think about how these different types of tool could help in study tasks requiring collaboration. Open the links to explore any tools if you are unfamiliar with them. Next, for each tool, select the checkboxes next to any possible collaborative uses. In the text areas provided make notes on other ways of using the tools collaboratively. Then read the feedback.

1. Oral communication online: Skype

2. Shared text: Google Docs

3. Social bookmarks or curation:; Delicious or Diigo

4. Social networking sites: Facebook or LinkedIn

© Modern Languages, University of Southampton, 2013. All rights reserved.