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Challenges of Effective Collaboration in a Virtual Learning Environment among Undergraduate Students

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DOI: 10.4236/ce.2014.516162    3,115 Downloads   3,709 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Web-based technology has influenced the way we perceive and use computer devices. One effect of the increasing variety of online web services has been a move away from “personal” computing toward networked or “social” computing. In this paper we discussed a research project which explored the potential in using a purpose-built social-networked environment to support learning in undergraduate education. In particular, we were interested in which tools would be adopted and the collaborative manner which would be used. A prototype web-based networked environment was built that allowed each student a personal space with their profile, access to resources and a group-project work space. The network incorporated a people-centric paradigm that integrated networking across a range of collaborative tools to support course activities. The system embraced an “open” philosophy where all students and staff were linked to all members and work- group areas. Each work-group area consisted of a number of web-based tools that included a group wiki, group blog, file repository, weblink tool, discussion area, and calendar. The site allowed for both synchronized and asynchronized communication via messaging and chat facilities. The results showed that students did not work collaboratively and struggled to use the web-based tools to advance their learning. Further investigation revealed that students preferred individual offline approaches to the more demanding processes required in a collaborative online environment.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Butson, R. and Thomson, C. (2014) Challenges of Effective Collaboration in a Virtual Learning Environment among Undergraduate Students. Creative Education, 5, 1449-1459. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.516162.

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