Exploring the downside to student online collaborations

Authors

  • Anneke Venter University of South Africa

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/ijtl.v19i1.18853

Keywords:

collaborative learning, learning design, online learning, social capital, student collaborations

Abstract

Online learning proponents report that collaboration in online groups has positive effects on the student learning experience, but the literature also refers to a contrasting side, indicating the often overlooked non-productive or undesirable consequences of student online collaborations. To gain a more nuanced and contextual understanding of student online collaborations, a qualitative study was conducted. In-depth interviews and focus groups were used to gather primary data from students at an Open Distance Learning (ODL) university in South Africa. The results revealed a complex range of learning-related outcomes embedded in student online collaborations, including some drawbacks to these liaisons. Relevant literature about online collaborations supports the notion of looking at the potential for non-beneficial student collaborations and directs a call for a differentiated view of student online collaborations. The paper offers design guidelines from a social theory perspective to assist online learning practitioners in finding ways to mitigate negative online collaborations and facilitate constructive forms of student online collaborations in an optimal learning experience. This paper offers directions for future research regarding the complexity of student online collaborations.

Author Biography

Anneke Venter, University of South Africa

Anneke Venter (PhD) is currently serving as the Acting Deputy Director in the Directorate of Curriculum Development and Transformation (DCDT) at Unisa. In this capacity, she assumes responsibility for driving curriculum transformation and enhancing the quality of online module development. She monitors and reports on the progress of curriculum transformation initiatives, ensuring alignment with institutional goals. Moreover, she provides support to academics and colleagues through targeted training interventions, assisting them to excel in their online learning endeavours. As an advocate for quality standards in online learning, Dr Venter oversees the maintenance and enhancement of educational practices, ensuring that online learning experiences meet rigorous quality benchmarks. Dr Venter's scholarly pursuits are guided by her deep interest in understanding how social forces influence the quality and outcomes of student learning. She is passionate about contextualizing the student learning experience to address the unique needs of diverse Open Distance Learning (ODL) students. Drawing from her sociological insights, Dr Venter guides online learning developers and facilitators, promoting constructive online engagements and effective learning experiences. 

References

Adipat, S. (2021). Why Web-Conferencing Matters: Rescuing Education in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis. Frontiers in Education, 6 (September). https://doi.org/10.3389/FEDUC.2021.752522/FULL

Biasutti, M. (2011). The Student Experience of a Collaborative E-Learning University Module. Computers and Education, 57(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.04.006

Blaschke, L. M. (2021). The Dynamic Mix of Heutagogy and Technology: Preparing Learners for Lifelong Learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, May, bjet.13105. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.13105

Brett, C., Lee, K. & Oztok. M. (2016). Socialization and Social Capital in Online Doctoral Programs. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning, Edited by: Cranmer, S, Dohn, NB, de Laat, M, Ryberg T & Sime JA. Lancaster University, 264-268. ISBN 978-1-86220-324-2 https://hdl.handle.net/1807/74902

Brindley, J. E., Walti, C. & Blaschke, L. M. (2009). Creating Effective Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3).

Capdeferro, N. & Romero, M. (2012). Are Online Learners Frustrated with Collaborative Learning Experiences? The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(2), 26-44. https://doi.org/10.19173/IRRODL.V13I2.1127

Casal, S. S. (2019). The Impact of Social Media Participation on Academic Performance in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 20(1) 126-143. https://doi.org/10.19173/IRRODL.V20I1.3751

Casquero, O., Ovelar, R., Romo, J., Benito, M. & Alberdi, M. (2013). Students’ Personal Networks in Virtual and Personal Learning Environments: A Case Study in Higher Education Using Learning Analytics Approach. Interactive learning Environments, 24(1), 49-67. https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2013.817441

Chiong, R. & Jovanovic, J. (2012). Collaborative Learning in Online Study Groups: An Evolutionary Game Theory... Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 11(1), 81-101.

Cho, M-H & Shen, D. (2013). Self-Regulation in Online Learning, 34(3), 290-301. https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2013.835770

Clark, T. (2003). Disadvantages of Collaborative Online Discussion and the Advantages of Sociability, Fun and Cliques for Online Learning. In IFIP Working Groups 3.1 and 3.3 Working Conference: ICT and the Teacher of the Future. Australian Computer Society, Inc. https://doi.org/10.5555/857097.857104

Daniel, Ben, Richard A. Schwier & McCalla, G. (2003). Social Capital in Virtual Learning Communities and Distributed Communities of Practice. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology / La Revue Canadienne de l’apprentissage et de La Technologie, 29(3). https://doi.org/10.21432/t21s4r

Flick, U. & Willig, C. (2014). Interpretation and Analysis. In The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis. 136-149. SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446282243.n10

Greenhow, C. (2011). Online Social Networks and Learning. On the Horizon, 19(1), 4-12. https://doi.org/10.1108/10748121111107663

Han, S. & Resta, P. E. (2020). Virtually Authentic: Graduate Students’ Perspective Changes toward Authentic Learning While Collaborating in a Virtual World. Online Learning, 24(4), 5-27. https://doi.org/10.24059/OLJ.V24I4.2326

Janssen, J. & Bodemer, D. (2013). Coordinated Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning: Awareness and Awareness Tools. Educational Psychologist 48(1), 40-55. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2012.749153

Järvenoja, H., Malmberg, J., Törmänen, T., Mänty, K., Haataja, E., Ahola, S. & Järvelä, S. (2020). A Collaborative Learning Design for Promoting and Analyzing Adaptive Motivation and Emotion Regulation in the Science Classroom. Frontiers in Education, 0(July), 111. https://doi.org/10.3389/FEDUC.2020.00111

Kellogg, S., Booth, S. & Oliver, K. (2014). A Social Network Perspective on Peer Supported Learning in MOOCs for Educators. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(5), 263-89. https://doi.org/10.19173/IRRODL.V15I5.1852

Kirschner, F. (2009). United Brains for Complex Learning A Cognitive-Load Approach to Collaborative Learning Efficiency. Open Universiteit Nederland: Netherlands.

Kreijns, K., Kirschner, P.A. & Jochems, W. (2003). Identifying the Pitfalls for Social Interaction in Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Environments: A Review of the Research Computers in Human Behaviour 19, 335-353. https://doi:10.1016/S0747-5632(02)00057-2

Latif, M. Z., Hussain, I., Saeed, R., Qureshi, M. A. & Maqsood, U. (2019). Use of Smart Phones and Social Media in Medical Education: Trends, Advantages, Challenges and Barriers. Acta Informatica Medica, 27(2), 133. https://doi.org/10.5455/AIM.2019.27.133-138

Lei, M. & Medwell, J. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student teachers: how the shift to online collaborative learning affects student teachers’ learning and future teaching in a Chinese context. Asia Pacific Education Review, 22, 169-179. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12564-021-09686-w

Lutz, C. & Hoffmann, C. P. (2017). The Dark Side of Online Participation: Exploring Non-, Passive and Negative Participation. Information, Communication & Society, 20(6), 876-97. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1293129

Malan, M. (2020b). Student Engagement in a Fully Online Accounting Module: An Action Research Study. South African Journal of Higher Education, 34(4), 112-29. https://doi.org/10.20853/34-4-3683

Mashau, P. & Nyawo, J. (2021). THE USE OF AN ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORM: A STEP TOWARDS E-LEARNING. South African Journal of Higher Education, 35(2), 123-43. https://doi.org/10.20853/35-2-3985

Means, B. & Neisler, J. (2021). Teaching and Learning in the Time of COVID-19: The Student Perspective. Online Learning Journal, 25(1) 8-27. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v25i1.2496

Mehall, S. (2020). Purposeful Interpersonal Interaction in Online Learning: What Is It and How Is It Measured? Online Learning Journal, 24(1),182-204. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v24i1.2002

Muuro, M. E., Wagacha, W.P., Kihoro, J. & Oboko, R. (2014). Students’ Perceived Challenges in an Online Collaborative Learning Environment: A Case of Higher Learning Institutions in Nairobi, Kenya. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(6), 132-61. https://doi.org/10.19173/IRRODL.V15I6.1768

Nagel, L., Blignaut, A. S. & Cronjé, J. C. (2009). Read-Only Participants: A Case for Student Communication in Online Classes. Interactive Learning Environments, 17(1), 37-51. https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820701501028

Nahapiet, J. & Ghoshal, S. (2009). Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, and the Organizational Advantage. Knowledge and Social Capital November, 119-58. https://doi.org/10.2307/259373

Öztok, M., Zingaro, D., Makos, A., Brett, C. & Hewitt, J. (2015a). Capitalizing on Social Presence: The Relationship between Social Capital and Social Presence. Internet and Higher Education 26 (July), 19-24.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.04.002

Portes, A. (1998). Social Capital: Its Origins and Applications in Modern Sociology. Annual Review of Sociology 24(1), 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.24.1.1

Prasetyo, A. R., Nurtjahjanti, H. & Ardhiani, L. N. (2021). Impact of Changes in Teaching Methods During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Effect of Integrative E-Learning on Readiness for Change and Interest in Learning Among Indonesian University Students. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 22(2), 87-101. https://doi.org/10.19173/IRRODL.V22I2.5143

Rafaeli, S., Ravid, G. & Soroka, V. (2004). De-Lurking in Virtual Communities: A Social Communication Network Approach to Measuring the Effects of Social and Cultural Capital. 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2004. Proceedings of The, 10 https://doi.org/10.1109/HICSS.2004.1265478

Shiue, Y. C., Chiu, C. M. & Chang, C. C. (2010). Exploring and Mitigating Social Loafing in Online Communities. Computers in Human Behavior 26(4), 768-777. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.CHB.2010.01.014

Smith, R. O. (2008.) The Paradox of Trust in Online Collaborative Groups. 29(3), 325-340. https://doi.org/10.1080/01587910802395839

Stephenson, N. (2010). Approaches to the Downside of Social Capital. In Proceedings of TASA 2010: Social Causes, Private Lives. Macquarie University, Australia.

Venter, A. (2017). Social Capital and Online Learning: The Case of Unisa, South Africa. University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Venter, A. (2020). Synchronising Informal and Formal Learning Spaces to Facilitate Collaborative Online Learning. Africa Education Review 17(6), 1-15. doi.10.1080/18146627.2021.1954536

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society. In Mind in Society 79-91. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Wasko, M. Mc. & Faraj, S. (2005). Why Should I Share? Examining Social Capital and Knowledge Contribution in Electronic Networks of Practice. MIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems 29(1), 35-57. https://doi.org/10.2307/25148667

Watson, J. & Gemin, B. (2008). Promising practices in online learning: Using Online Learning for At-Risk Students and Credit Recovery Vienna, VA: International Association of K-12 Online Learning. http://www.inacol.org/research/promisingpractices/NACOL_CreditRecovery_PromisingPractices.pdf

Yin, R. K. (2014). Case Study Research Design and Methods. In , (5th ed.). 282. Thousand Oaks, C.A.: SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjpe.30.1.108

Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Attaining Self-Regulation: A social cognitive perspective. Edited by Boekaerts, M, Pintrich, P. R., Zeidner, M, In: Handbook of Self-Regulation 13-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-012109890-2/50031-7

Downloads

Published

21-05-2024

How to Cite

Venter, A. (2024). Exploring the downside to student online collaborations. The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning, 19(1), 64–78. https://doi.org/10.17159/ijtl.v19i1.18853

Similar Articles

1 2 3 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.