According to students, one of the greatest obstacles to distance learning is isolation.
Whether the course is synchronous or asynchronous, it is therefore crucial to plan interactive and collaborative activities between students.
By way of an example, merely creating a discussion forum does not mean that collaboration and mutual assistance will follow just like that. If some students have had a bad experience with teamwork, they are likely to be reluctant to collaborate with other learners, especially at a distance.
It is essential therefore to propose meaningful activities, within student understanding, that will result in their collaboration.
At the college level, collaborative activities will be preferred over cooperative activities.
As it is, primary and secondary teachers are familiar with the cooperative approach in which they themselves manage their pupils’ work, which consists of different juxtaposed parts of an assignment carried out individually by each member of a team.
However, at the postsecondary level, a collaborative kind of assignment is preferred, one in which each participant collaborates in managing a learning process and in organizing work to be done, with the goal of attaining an objective shared with his or her collaborators.
Examples of distance collaborative activities:
- Setting up a wiki as a group or as sub-groups
- Completing a team project in videoconferencing rooms
- Online surveys in virtual classes as contributions to a course