USING COLLABORATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR GROUP WORK WITH DISTANCE LEARNING STUDENTS AND WITH FACE TO FACE STUDENTS
Leeds Metropolitan University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Group Work is usually unpopular with students. High achieving students worry that their marks may be adversely affected by poor performance from other members. Conversely, they may feel that under-performing members of the group may get “a free ride” from the work of others.
Employers, however, welcome “team players” who can work in groups. Group work, therefore, is often a component of assessment I order to promote work place skills in students.
There are various strategies for peer assessment whereby members of the group report on each other’s contributions. This form of peer assessment, however, is far removed from workplace practice, thus removing one of the reasons for group work. It also places stress on students who may be reluctant to mark down colleagues or friends. Students may also be intimidated by group members and not confident that their remarks will be treated as confidential.
Distance Learning students often report that they feel a sense of isolation in their course. Group projects can foster a sense of inclusiveness, and overcome the feeling of isolation. However, the group work has to be well-designed to avoid the problems identified above.
Social media, in the form of a student wiki, has been very successfully used for group work on distance learning courses, for several years. Students collaborate in producing the wiki, yet each student is assessed on their individual contribution to the wiki. Introducing the same technique to students on a traditional face-to-face course, however, met with very limited success.
This paper will firstly identify the techniques for successful use of social media in group work on distance learning courses, and secondly address reasons why the same techniques were not successful in a face-to-face course.
Keywords: Social Media, Group Work, Distance Learning.