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Just Tell Me What to Do: Group Dynamics in a Virtual Environment

Becker, Karen L. (2003) Just Tell Me What to Do: Group Dynamics in a Virtual Environment. In Women in Research Conference, 13-14 November, Rockhampton, Australia.

Abstract

Any group task set in a tertiary institution brings with it specific challenges. However, when the groups are working in a virtual environment, with a large majority of the work done in an online mode, the challenges are even greater. This situation however, creates a unique opportunity for the lecturer to observe the group interactions and group dynamics first hand. This paper explores students’ reactions to an online learning environment, and in particular it explores the group dynamics of groups studying an undergraduate course at Central Queensland University. In this course, students were compelled to work collaboratively on a project in an online environment. The work contributed significantly to their assessment and final grade for the course. The project used an approach to learning based on case-study and problem-based learning theory, and relied heavily on students to be self-motivated and to develop skill in operating effectively in both group and virtual environments. The students’ experience and reactions were analysed as were the special challenges of group dynamics in a virtual environment. In this paper, the five-step model proposed by Salmon (2000) relating to computer-mediated communication is integrated with the Tuckman (2001) model of group development. One group in particular was studied in depth, taking into consideration the nature of the group’s interactions during the course of the entire term. Key learning outcomes pertaining to online group dynamics are highlighted taking into account the model of teaching and learning online advanced by Salmon (2000).

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ID Code: 12187
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: learning, online, groupwork, group dynamics, computer mediated communication, problem, based learning
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Technology and Computing (130306)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 23 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 23:35

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