Facilitating online project collaboration - new directions for learning design

  • Inez Estelle Harker-Schuch http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2721-8598
  • Henrik Bregnhøj Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet Københavns Universitet
  • Victoria Jae Chuang Department of Plant and Environmental Science University of Copenhagen
  • Peter Furu Department of Public Health University of Copenhagen
  • Ingelise Andersen Institut for Folkesundhedsvidenskab Københavns Universitet
  • Christian Bugge Henriksen Department of Plant and Environmental Science University of Copenhagen http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2890-4522


Although research suggests that project collaboration supports deep learning, facilitators frequently face participation and engagement challenges – particularly in 100% online courses and/or courses with students from diverse geographical/cultural backgrounds.  We present our experiences with learning designs featuring online project collaboration by examining student evaluation of the group work component in the course ‘Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation’ and reviewing specific process reports from the course ‘Environmental Management in the Tropics’.  For the CCIAM we discern positive trends over the 2009-2012 period with ‘collaborative dynamics’, ‘organisation/coordination’, ‘burden sharing’ and practical knowledge’ showing significant improvements following revision.  We provide experience from revising the CCIAM course (responding to evaluations) - and reflect on the results that such revisions engender.  Determining specific factors that contribute to improvements in student evaluations are not always clear but we offer suggestions for facilitating online project collaboration to circumnavigate the four above-mentioned major issues identified on the CCIAM course: these suggestions are peer assessment, mandatory participation, and grading (as a contribution to the overall final grade).  For EMiT ‘communication’ showed the strongest issue-signal – with organization/coordination ‘cultural issues’ and ‘learning outcomes’ also indicating issue-relevance..  We propose that learning designs for online project collaboration can be improved via teacher-facilitated interventions without undermining the socialisation pathways that students can find motivating and that promote online team building.


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Harker-Schuch, I., Bregnhøj, H., Chuang, V., Furu, P., Andersen, I., & Henriksen, C. (2016). Facilitating online project collaboration - new directions for learning design. Tidsskriftet Læring Og Medier (LOM), 9(16). https://doi.org/10.7146/lom.v9i16.24411