OSCQR – Standard #42

OSCQR – Standard #42

Course offers opportunities for learner to learner interaction and constructive collaboration.

Review These Explanations

Collaboration in an online course fosters constructive learning by enabling learners to be active participants, take initiative, think critically, and engage each other in dialogue. (Palloff & Prat, 2007).

By requiring learners to engage with each other, it requires them to assume more responsibility for their own learning. This often leads to a deeper level of engagement. The instructor’s role is as a facilitator, who moderates and evaluates the quality and quantity of interaction between learners.

Group and peer-review assignments can support social, teaching, and cognitive presences in the online learning environment. According to Lee and Choi (2011), the more instructors promoted interaction through collaboration, feedback, group activities, and peer scaffolding, the more likely that learners persisted and successfully completed their online studies.

Providing opportunities for learners to learn from each other is an integral part of constructive collaboration. Collaborative online learning activities can enable more advanced learners to reinforce and maximize their own abilities and understanding while helping less experienced learners to develop theirs, as they construct new knowledge together (Vygotsky, 1978). This new knowledge can then be shared and infused back into the course learning materials to scaffold other learners to construct new meaning.


Lee, Y., & Choi, J. (2011). A review of online course dropout research: implications for practice and future research. Educational Technology Research and Development, 59, 593-618.

Palloff, R. & Pratt, K. (2007). Building Online Learning Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lee, Ji Eun, “Examining the Effects of Discussion Strategies and Learner Interactions on Performance in Online Introductory Mathematics Courses: An Application of Learning Analytics” (2019). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7583.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions/Resources


“Students in courses where instructors used open-ended discussion prompts and graded students’ posts had higher average final course grades…Rich discussions can enhance learners’ understanding of a topic and should be guided by the instructor.” (Lee & Recker, 2021).

  • Use online interaction/discussion strategies that have a positive impact on learner outcomes:
    • Open-ended prompting (like brainstorming questions).
    • Grading discussion posts.
    • Focused discussions, which center around one specific topic.
    • Elaborated feedback, which provide explanations, or additional resources, like hints and extra study materials,

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

These Pedagogical Practices from TOPR explore methods and approaches to creating opportunities for learner to learner interaction and constructive collaboration to support learner success in online courses.

Facilitate Discussions to Promote Interaction and Critical Thinking
Setting up a discussion prompt is important for initial structuring, but it is crucial to facilitate during the discussion to ensure it is progressing. (Read more …)
Use Google Educational Apps to Foster Online Collaborations
In the 21st century modern education is becoming increasingly complex due to the technological environment within which it operates. This new environment offers exciting new possibilities but also raises challenges. Low cost, ubiquity, accessibility and ease of use are all potential affordances, which are making social media technologies an attractive option for transforming teaching and learning environments. (Read more …)
Use Group Discussion Strategy to Facilitate Group Work
Working in groups can be challenging if groups don’t take the time to outline each member’s strengths and potential contributions and also the guidelines for how the group will act and react to situations as the project develops. This is especially true for large-size classes. (Read more …)
Use Online Debates to Enhance Classroom Engagement
A debate is a formal competition between two teams, usually with three members each, arguing a discussion statement known as “the moot”. Shaw (2012) believes that debates stimulate critical thinking and can be a highly effective way to actively engage students in research in the online classroom. (Read more …)
Use Social Bookmarking to Organize and Share Online Resources
IDL6543 is a professional development course, designed to prepare UCF faculty for a successful online teaching experience. In the course, faculty learn about online pedagogy, online technical and logistical issues, course delivery strategies and tools used in Webcourses@UCF (learning management system). IDL offers tons of resources for faculty to use for their online teaching. The instructional designers compiled lists of resources on Diigo, a social networking site, at http://www.diigo.com/user/onlineucf . Faculty can access those updated resources not just in IDL6543, but also after completing the course. (Read more …)
Use Social Networking Tools to Facilitate Small Group Problem-Based Learning
With the rapid growth of technologies and the appearance of social media the potential of technology-supported PBL seems significant, since it can be used to enrich interactions between students and reduce the time constraints of the traditional classroom. (Read more …)
Using Voicethread for Online Debate
An online protocol callled “Prompt a Stand” was used in conjunction with Voicethread, a tool for having online discussions, in order to foster a debate on a topic. Protocols are “strategies for having structured communication to enhance problem-solving, encourage different perspectives, and build shared knowledge (Dichter & Zydney, in press). (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Bollinger, D., & Martindale, T. (2004). Key factors for determining student satisfaction in online courses. International Journal on E-Learning, 3(1), 61-67.
Khine, M. S., Yeap, L. L., & Lok, A. T. C. (2013). The quality of message ideas, thinking and interaction in an asynchronous CMC environment. Educational Media International, 40(1-2), 115-126.
Lewis, C. C., & Abdul-Hamid, H. (2006). Implementing effective online teaching practices: Voices of exemplary faculty. Innovative Higher Education, 31(2), 83-98.
Matthews, R. S.; Cooper, J.L.; Davidson, N.; Hawkes, P. Building bridges between cooperative and collaborative learning. Change, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Jul. – Aug., 1995), pp. 34-40.
Stephens, G.E., & Roberts, K.L. Facilitating Collaboration in Online Groups. Journal of Educators Online, Vol. 14, No. 1 Jan 2017.
Haythornthwaite, C. Facilitating Collaboration in Online Learning. Online Learning, [S.l.], Vol. 10, No.1, Mar. 2019.
Collaborative Learning Module from El Passo Community College.

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

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