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, the design of such activities requires them to assume more responsibility for their own learning. This often leads to a deeper level of engagement. The instructor’s role changes more to facilitator, moderating and evaluating the quality and quantity of interaction between learners.

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

Providing opportunities for learners to learn from each other is an integral part of constructive collaboration. Collaborative exercises can enable more advanced learners to help less experienced learners to maximize their abilities, and help 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, J-E., Recker, M. (2021). The effects of instructors’ use of online discussions strategies on student participation and performance in university online introductory mathem.atics courses. Computers & Education, Volume 162, March 2021, 104084.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

  • Assign a different learner to moderate the discussion forum each module, helping other learners stay on topic and track.
  • Hold a formal debate in the online discussion forum.
  • Have learners work in groups to create presentations using VoiceThread, or another collaborative presentation tool.
  • Create a collaborative bookmarking site where learners can engage by sharing and discussing course-related resources. Available tools include Diigo, Pinterest, and Flipboard.
  • Assign collaborative writing projects with dyads (pairs) of learners and have them work together as a team throughout the term.
  • Create a course wiki project that involves assigning individual learners to work on specific areas, and the learner group to work on creating a cohesive project.
  • Integrate case studies that involve group scenarios into discussion forums. Have learners role-play out the scenario and then reflect on the decisions of their classmates.
  • Implement strategies that provide elaborated feedback, encouragement, and providing correct answers.
  • Use strategies that have a positive impact on learner outcomes:
    1. Open-ended prompting (like brainstorming questions)
    2. Grading discussion posts
    3. Focused discussions, which centered around one specific topic
    4. Elaborated feedback, which provided explanations or additional resources, like hints and extra study materials
  • “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).

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.

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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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