Tools for student collaboration

Author(s): Klas Karlgren & Elnta Meragia

Affiliation(s): Dep of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME, Health Informatics Center) at Karolinska Institutet

Date of publication: March 14, 2015

The Educational Problem

In some university courses, students may have many deadlines throughout the course and time and group management among the students may be crucial for passing the courses.

Students may need help in coping with the group work, the submission of assignments, and, with the workload in general both on an individual level as well as in the teams that they are engaged in.

The Solution

Therefore, introduce tools/methods that enhance students’ cooperation, collaboration and organization. One such tool is Trello which is a web-based tool that enhances collaboration, coordination, integration of activities, interaction within members and reflection. Trello may help students in developing artifacts and practices in the groups.

In practice, it may be a good idea to agree on the choice of tool together with the responsible teacher of the course. To get students started, set up accounts for the groups of students who are planned to be working collaboratively and share the links to their accounts during the first day of the course. Provide a few tips for better organization and collaboration in their group work. As a first step in order to orient and learn the Trello tool, ask students to set up rules for their teams and to post these on their Trello boards. In order to let students feel relaxed, teachers of the course should not be provided access to students’ boards. After the first day, let students work as they like.

The Context

University level courses which include collaborative student work and especially on digital objects/documents and where there is some preparedness on the part of the students and teachers to learn to work with new tools.

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