Module 3

Assessing Collaborative Efforts

Grading cooperative collaboration in a learning community is a difficult process and one that is not perfect.  It can be difficult to determine where the line is when valuing student interactions with the quality of their responses.  What is more beneficial to a learning community?  A student who participates selectively, but contributes a significant amount when doing so or the student who participates often but provides very little in diversity of thinking or quality of product?

I agreed with Siemens in his video that there needs to be a mix of individual and collaborative work.  I am often the student who is hesitant to participate in group work for two reasons.  The first is I hate the feeling of being uncertain of the quality of my work.  It’s one thing if I submit work that I am unsure of but the grade will only affect me.  It’s another thing entirely when the inadequate grade will bring down a classmate’s score.

The second reason is the feeling of being on the other side of that situation.  I have often been let down by group members.  I once did a Civil War history report where my partner confused Confederate soldiers and misunderstood them to be Union soldiers.  During our oral presentation, we lost a significant amount of points when she stated that the Confederate Army won the Civil War.  In this situation, I remember wishing that we were receiving separate grades for our work.

If a student is requesting to complete a project independently, rather than as a member of the group, I think the collaborative group needs to step up.  It can be difficult to trust the partners in your group, as they can be strangers you have never met or worked with before.  It can be helpful if the instructor could determine if there is a classmate in the group the student has worked successfully with previously and make sure they are placed together.

As Siemens discusses in his video, collaboration is often necessary to achieve large tasks.  While the student doesn’t wish to work within a group setting, it must be required as it is an essential skill for students to master.


Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Principles of distance education: Assessment of collaborative learning. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Principles of distance education: Learning communities. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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6 thoughts on “Module 3

  1. Elizabeth,

    I also have the concerns you mentioned regarding collaborative work. That is why; I agree that every collaborative work has to include a part for individual grading. This will not only prevent some hard-working students from having concerns about their high performance not being acknowledged, but also those who rely on the rest of the group members will have to get out of their comfort zones as well.



  2. Hi Elizabeth,

    I understand your frustration about collaborative work in a group setting. Everyone needs to
    have an understood contract that each member is responsible for an equal amount of work
    in order to achieve the desired result. I like the idea of individual grades plus a collaborative
    grade in a group project. Peer review is also considered to be an integral part of a group
    project. I can relate to someone not getting their part of a project completed timely or correctly.


  3. Hello,

    Collaborative work can be a little tricky. I think that it is important as an instructor to establish and communicate clear objectives to students as well as your expectations. I think when this is done up front it is easier for students to navigate the group assignment.
    In group work assessment is important and I don’t think that you can or should give one identical grade to the entire group. I think there needs to be with in the assessment a way to evaluate participation and contribution by all members and hold everyone accountable for their work.
    I also understand what you are saying about wondering if my own contributions are up to the groups standards or from time to time getting frustrated with the contributions of others. I find this reflective of what I find in the professional world. I find myself often waiting on instructors or SME’s to get me information or presentations so I can do my job. There are times when what I am given is sub par or late causing me to scramble to make it useable for the intended purpose. On the other hand their are times that an instructor or SME will go above and beyond making my job easier.


  4. Hello Elizabeth,

    You made some solid points in your post as to why you do not like teamwork and I had some similar experience of team members letting my down. For example, in one case where the team member presented my ideas as their own and even though I had submitted my work to the instructor, the team member got the credit and I lost points. However and as you stated, “while the student doesn’t wish to work within a group setting, it must be required as it is an essential skill for students to master”, this is true not only for classwork, but especially in a work setting. As we all need to work for some company, (unless it is your company), whatever that company maybe, working a part of a team is very commonplace. Therefore, group/teamwork such as those presented in classes these days is good practice that one can take to their workplace or use as a point of reference. It is very helpful thought when there are set guidelines, outcomes, and rubrics in place so each member of the team knows what to expect as the project concludes.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas.



  5. Elizabeth.

    You did a great job pointing out how successful group collaboration depends on trust. Overall, trust creates a strong foundation in many instances, and when considering collaborative relationships, it serves a key factor.



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