Intended Learning Outcomes
- Recognize team dynamics that affect collaborative learning groups
- Propose different strategies to support collaborative teams
Timeframe and Mode
This asynchronous activity will take place over 5 days of the course.
Overview of Activity
The focus for this week is on issues of team dynamics in group collaborative activities in online courses. Using a scenario and case study information (embedded in the Week 4 page), the learners will explore issues and develop recommendations from a:
- “First Steps” perspective (responding to the immediate issues your participants recognize from the case study information); and, a
- "In the Future" perspective (suggesting ways to avoid or respond to similar situations in the future).
Your focus will be on identifying possible facilitation responses but you’ll have the opportunity to explore beliefs / perspectives on the impact of conflict in collaborative learning groups.
In the first part of this activity, you should provide some foundation for the topic this week to the participants. Either assign reading(s) from the list of Relevant Readings and Resources in this document, OR write/create something that “sets the scene” for the activity. (Hint: Keep that "thing" very small and manageable for the participants.)
You should direct participants to read and reflect on the Case Study information (already prepared and embedded in the Week 4 page). Ask the participants to imagine they are instructors who have been asked by the Dean to work in two teams to address the case study situation.
The focus for each team is:
- First Steps: suggesting strategies that an instructor/facilitator could implement to address the conflict situation that has occurred and help the group move forward.
- In the Future: suggesting strategies an instructor/facilitator might use to prepare to work more effectively with collaborative learning teams in the future.
The teams should each collaborate in their own team forum in the week's tabbed page.
Ask each team to identify the "Top 5" recommendations they would share with the Dean. You can suggest a "dotmocracy" approach or some other way of representing the team's best suggestions. Ask each team to create an open bulletin board (we suggest Padlet) to creatively post their top 5 suggestions and share the link to it in the Collaboration class forum.
Lastly, invite participants to add any comments regarding the role of conflict in teamwork in the Collaboration class forum.
Provide a schedule of events with due dates for all parts of the activity. Ask for help from your FLO facilitator if you're having any problems envisioning how this could work.
Your facilitation should help participants engage in the topic and stay “on time”:
- post a clear, concise “launch” message in the week’s forum (direct participants to the Case Study and your detailed instructions and schedule)
- monitor activities in relation to due dates - connect with participants who are lagging
- respond to questions/confusions as quickly as possible
- allow “space” for discussion but post prompts or clarifying questions to help the group engage in exploring relevant ideas around stages of group formation, impact of conflicts on learning, etc. Encourage participants to share experiences and identify readings or other resources that support different facilitation responses
- encourage both teams to share their "Top 5 recommendations" bulletin boards (e.g. the Padlets) in the class forum and encourage any final sharing of reflections on the role of conflict in teams
- encourage participants to provide feedback by the weekend
Team Planning Space
You have access to a semi-private planning forum (visible to your team members and the FLO facilitators) located in the Facilitation Teams Workspace. Use this forum to ensure that all members of your team and your FLO facilitator are kept informed. The FLO facilitator can assist you in accessing features/functions of the Moodle course site and providing assistance in your scheduling and planning.
The following readings/resources from the Week 4 Overview are particularly relevant to this activity:
- Advice on Working With Teams
- Collaborative Online Research and Learning, "Tuckman Stages of Group Development", retrieved from http://coral.wcupa.edu/tuckmanstages.htm
- Dool, R. (2007, February). Best practices: Mitigating Conflict in Online Student Teams. eLearn Magazine, 2007(2), 2. Note: This article directly addresses the issue of conflict in teams. It gives effective, solid strategies based on experience.
- Connect with team members and FLO Facilitator to plan the activity in your team planning forum - decide on roles and responsibilities of team members. Draw upon the support of your FLO facilitator for any pedagogical or technical assistance you may need.
- Review the Team in Trouble Case Study (found in the Week 4 tabbed page).
- Review this Activity Plan and work together as a team to craft instructions and share facilitation tasks to support learners. Note the activity's intended learning outcomes.
- Organize your team members to provide support, as you decide is necessary, throughout the week.
- After your activity has finished, encourage participants to provide feedback by the weekend.
- Complete your FLIF individually before the next week begins.
Tools / Structures
Create an Instructions and Schedule resource which will guide participants through the steps of your activity and provide due dates for each step. You can do this in a Moodle page, a multimedia resource that you create (screencast? video?) or within the forum you have in your week. (Note: You will need to ask your FLO Facilitator to post any new resources to your activity area.) Remember that you only have 5 days; be clear about who is doing the task, when and where.
Week’s Activity Forum: Use the forum description field to post a very brief statement about the week's focus and activity. Your FLO Facilitator will have to update this for you, based on text you provide them.
Post your “launch” message as a new topic thread (remember that participants are automatically subscribed to the forum so each should receive an email after you post). Try to “set the scene” and invite participants to engage in the activity. You might record a brief screencast or video to show the important due dates and point out where each step should take place (this is your Instructions/Schedule.) Tell the groups what team they are on and how to use the team forum.
Team Forum: This has already been set up in the Week 4 area for you. The team forum has been set to "visible groups" which means each team will only have access to post in their team forum but they can see the other team's area. You will have to explain how this works. (Note: You will have to let your FLO facilitator know who you want on each team so that they can put people on the appropriate team behind the scenes in the course.)
Padlet boards - one for each team: Ask someone from each team to set this up or if you prefer, you can create them yourselves and give the teams access to their particular board. (If you prefer a different open bulletin board tool, discuss with your team and the FLO Facilitator.) Make sure participants know how to post recommendations and indicate their preference for specific postings.