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Collaborative Spaces

Collaborative Spaces Can be Powerful Tools for Learning

Collaborative video tools are divided into two types: asynchronous and synchronous. Asynchronous tools are used to collaborate with others, but the information is accessed at different times. Alternatively, synchronous tools are used in real time. In other words, synchronous tools require everyone to be online at the same time. 

Collaborative Spaces in Teaching and Learning

Collaborative spaces are all about developing community. These tools create spaces for faculty and students to interact, exchange ideas, and connect. These tools can bring people together regardless of geographical location, age, race, gender, physical ability, or any of the other ways that we might differ or separate. 

Why include collaborative video conferencing tools in an online course?
  1. Enhance interactions within a course.
  2. Replicate the informal dimensions of a classroom.
  3. Provide 'teaching presence' with a manageable amount of time and effort.
  4. Create opportunity for students to see one another (and their instructor).
  5. Enable students to connect with other students.
  6. Connect students to experts in their field and other members of their community. 
Collaborative tools, such as the ones included in this section, may soon become environments that many students already feel comfortable in. Tools like web-conferencing may one day be as ubiquitous as a telephone call.

Discovery Resources

There’s a lot to cover in this section about collaborative spaces. TOEP is only suggesting a few of the available options. In this section you should select one of the collaborative tools listed below to explore. Of course if you want to explore more than one option we encourage you to do so.

VoiceThread (asynchronous)
A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in multiple ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.

Users can doodle while commenting, use multiple identities, and pick which comments are shown through moderation. VoiceThreads can even be embedded to show and receive comments on other websites and exported to MP3 players or DVDs to play as archival movies. A free account can create up to three VoiceThreads.

How could I use VoiceThread in a course?
  1. Embed a VoiceThread player into a course as a substitute for text-based discussion forums
  2. Embed a VoiceThread player into a course to present a lecture or presentation that students can comment on.
  3. Have students create VoiceThreads and embed them in shared course space
  4. Consider the possibilities…
Watch the VoiceThread presentation, What is VoiceThread Anyway?

And here's some student reflections on how VoiceThread enhanced their learning.

Explore a few Voicethreads created by students and teachers in the classroom or library:

Google+ Hangouts (synchronous)
Chat face to face, wherever you are -- whether you’re on your computer, phone or tablet device. Host virtual meetings and increase your team’s productivity. Hangouts can hold up to 10 people and you can include powerful tools like screen sharing and Google Docs. Broadcast your conversation to the world and send it out live in front of a global audience.

How could I use Google Hangouts in a course?
  1. Hold a virtual meeting with your students in real time’
  2. Use as an alternative to in-person office hours or in-person consultations
  3. Study sessions, group meetings, team projects
  4. Give and/or record a lecture with screenshare capabilities (up to 10 participants)
  5. Consider the possibilities…
These resources will help you learn more about Google+ Hangouts:

AnyMeeting (synchronous)
Allows you to meet up with up to 200 participants. The free version does contain Ads so you may want to test drive it first. It does allow up to 6 participants in via video, the remaining participants have the traditional text chat available to them. You can share your screen, upload PDFs, allow participants to call in via phone, record and upload your session to YouTube, and even allow participation via tablets or iPads. View tutorial here.

ooVoo (synchronous)
ooVoo is a video communication service which brings colleagues together through group video chats. You can easily communicate with others who are not on ooVoo but are online in Facebook and Twitter. Check out the ooVoo plans and credit options to take advantage of the premium features such as sharing your screen or calling landline and mobile phones. 

How could I use oovoo in a course?
  1. Hold a virtual meeting with your students in real time’
  2. Use as an alternative to in-person office hours or in-person consultations
  3. Study sessions, group meetings, team projects
  4. Consider the possibilities…
Explore the ooVoo tutorials. Create an oovoo account and follow the start-up information provided in the link above to create a hangout. Try out the video chat feature

For more information, use this link to go to the Collaborative Spaces section of the TOEP Resource Library.

Discovery Exercise

Select one of the collaborative tools discussed in this section.
  1. Write a reflective post in our TOEP Google+ Community about how you might use the tool in your personal and/or professional life.
  2. How could you use this tool in relation to your teaching or research?
  3. If you’re up to a challenge, use one of the tools to have an online meeting with your students or record a video that you could use within your course. 
  4. Although in this section you're not required to include a link in your post for this exercise, however, we encourage you to share an example of how you can use these tools for your collaborative needs. 

Now, Request Your Badge!

Complete the badge request form to earn your TOEP Collaborative Spaces Badge. You will need the URL for the Collaborative Space in this Discovery Exercise. If you selected a tool that does not result in a publicly accessible URL, include a link to your post about Collaborative Spaces in the TOEP Community instead. (Note: Review this tutorial to learn how to copy the URL link  for your post in the TOEP Google+ Community. You will need to paste this URL link into the badge request form as evidence of completing this Discovery Exercise.)

What Does the Research Say?

Capdeferro, N., & Romero, M. (2012). Are Online Learners Frustrated with Collaborative Learning Experiences?. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 13(2), 26-44.

Chang Zhu, C. (2012). Student Satisfaction, Performance, and Knowledge Construction in Online Collaborative Learning. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 15(1), 127-136.

Chen-Chung Liu, Shu-Yuan Tao, Wei-Hung Chen, Sherry Y. Chen, Baw-Jhiune Liu. (2013). The Effects of a Creative Commons Approach on Collaborative LearningBehaviour & Information Technology, 32(1), 37-51.

Jorczak, R. (2011). An information processing perspective on divergence and convergence in collaborative learning. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 6(2), 207-221. 

Li, Y, Dong, M., & Huang, R. (2011). Designing Collaborative E-Learning Environments based upon Semantic Wiki: From Design Models to Application Scenarios. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 14(4), 49-63. 

Lukman, R., & Krajnc, M (2012). Exploring Non-traditional Learning Methods in Virtual and Real-world Environments. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 15(1), 237-247.

Raes, A., Schellens, T., De Wever, B., & Vanderhoven, E. (2012). Scaffolding information problem solving in web-based collaborative inquiry learning. Computers & Education, 59(1), 82-94. 

Seltzer, L. J., Prososki, A. R., Ziegler, T. E., & Pollak, S. D. (2012). Instant messages vs. speech: hormones and why we still need to hear each other. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(1), 42–45.

Zahn, C., Krauskopf, K., Hesse, F., & Pea, R. (2012). How to improve collaborative learning with video tools in the classroom? Social vs. cognitive guidance for student teams. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 7(2), 259-284.

Additional research information is available in the Collaborative Spaces  section of the TOEP Resource Library.

*Note: Access to the research articles may require logging into your campus' library system or you may request an article through Inter Library Loan (ILL).