Computer supported teamwork: An integrative approach to evaluating cooperative learning in an online environment

Catherine McLoughlin


Existing teaching-learning arrangements in many online courses may not offer sufficient scope for off campus and on campus students to work collaboratively. Tasks that support collaboration online, goal sharing and collaborative decision making provide computer programming students with experiential learning, replicating how they will work on completion of university study and when entering the professional world. This study describes the initial implementation and evaluation of an online environment designed to support a collaborative programming task. A holistic, context based approach to evaluating the success of the innovation is documented, together with the framework used for conducting the evaluation. The approach to evaluation is integrative and holistic, seeking multiple forms of evidence for collaboration, engagement and improved learning and teaching. In addition, the study outlines decisions that have to be faced by practitioners in supporting online collaborative skills and carrying through an evaluation of an initial implementation.

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