Collaboration is not an online thing…


So how can we create online collaboration between students?

First of all, I want to emphasize on an important issue when we talk about creating in student collaboration. In my view there is an important distinction between facilitating collaboration and creating collaboration.

Why is this important? I imply that creating collaboration between students will not be dependent on if it´s an online environment or a face-to-face environment. Facilitating online collaboration, yes, this will be dependent on the context and if the learning is done online or not.

Facilitating collaboration is an online thing but creating collaboration is not an online thing…

Many of the Implications for Practice in the articles are in my view about facilitating online collaboration. E.g. “…support to students with technological difficulties.”, “…ensure that the group works effectively through mechanisms for assistance, feedback, and evaluation.”, “Facilitate learner readiness for group work…”

But what is important when it comes to create student collaboration?

First of all students must see the point of collaborating. Here I want to flip back to psychology and studies that shows what makes groups collaborate together.

When groups in a state of conflict are brought into contact under conditions embodying superordinate goals, which are compelling but cannot be achieved by the efforts of one group alone, they will tend to co-operate toward the common goals. (Sherif, 1967. p. 452)

What I mean with this is that we first have to find ways of design tasks that encourage and collaborative learning. Create tasks where the students havet o collaborate to solvet h problem. Creating problems that can not be achived by the efforts of one individual or group.

I think one answer to this question can be found in Brinley, Walti & Blashke (2009) where they discuss the importance of creating tasks that are best performed by a group.

Another strategy that has shown to be effective in creating student collaboration and class integration is the The Jigsaw Strategy (Aronson & Gonzalez, 1988).
In the Jigsaw strategy students are divided into subgroups where they become expert in their own subfield. In the next step of the strategy students teach each other about their special subfield. When the task is complete all students will have both presented their own subfield and learned about other students subfields.

Read more on this strategy at:

Collaboration should of course be done online. But we don’t have to reinvent the theories on how to create collaboration. Let´s translate the theories on how to create collaboration into an online environment.



Aronson, E., & Gonzalez, A. (1988). Desegregation, jigsaw, and the Mexican-American experience. In Eliminating racism (pp. 301-314). Springer US.

Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M., & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3).

Sherif, M. (Ed.). (1967). Social interaction: Process and products. Transaction Publishers.






Digital me

It was one of those ordinary evenings somewhere back in 2002.

One of those ordinary evening meant that I used a lot of my time on digital tools and in digital channels. The Flaschback forum – Here I talked about music, gaming and political debates. MSN messenger – I was active here all the time, talking and discussing everything from the next home party to what to write on the next assignment in school.

Then of course we had all the computer games – Counter Strike, Age of emperies 2 and Starcraft. And all the talk and all the lessons I learned in all these computer games!

If digital literacy is defined as to wish degree a user is socially engaged in digitally mediated information. Then I would say, no doubt, that one of these normal days back in two 2002 where when my digital me peaked. Where my digital literacy was highest.

So where am I today?

Yes, of course I´m involved in so many more digital channels today than in 2002.

But how do I use them? Looking at it with a visitor/resident perspective, I would say I have become more of a visitor. I don’t produce or discuss material in the same amount that I did back in 2002.

If digital literacy is about technical knowledge, my technical knowledge has definitely gone up since 2002. I have so much more knowledge of different digital – channels, programs and forums. But still I don’t seem to use them in an active way.

This makes me wonder if I have really become more technological?

Maybe I was more of an expert on a few digital channels and programs in 2002. But I was really active in these channels and programs. I was in a “resident-mood”.

Honestly, I have hard to se where I’m really active and productive in the digital world today. Yes, I’m on Instagram. Yes, I’m on Facebook. Yes, I’m on Linked in. But am I in a “residential-mood” when I’m in these in cannels? Not so much. I go through this pages daily and of course I get a million of notes and updates. But I’m not active.

The digital world to me has become much of what an old newspaper was to me. I read a lot of material but I never use that chance of writing the letter to the editor. If I wanted, I could be the editor. The new digital world has provided me with that chance. But still I just want to read my digital newspaper. Why is it so?