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Tools for Enhancing Student Collaboration in Online Learning

Enhancing Student Collaboration in Online Learning

Modern learning has come with so many distractions that students rarely give the teacher their undivided attention at all times. The goal of a teacher is to get their students paying attention enough to grasp whatever he or she had prepared for them. But it can get so frustrating when the opposite is achieved. The major problem comes when a teacher has devised some protection for the students, one that requires collaborative teamwork to be accomplished. Implementing the right strategies and incorporating the right implementing tools will enhance student collaboration and therefore facilitate e-learning. Here are a few collaboration tools that can help ensure teamwork.

Google Docs

Google Documents is an online collaborative tool designed to help create documents for learning. Students can use this to create documents and edit them. It also enables quick sharing and can be accessed from anywhere on the world whenever one wishes to on multiple devices. Drawings, images, links and tables can be drawn and added on the documents as it is typed on. Whenever any changes are made, they automatically saved and the documents adjusted to the latest versions while retaining the old versions. Using this in group discussion and projects promotes collaboration in students because any adjustments made will be known to the whole group. Students are therefore encouraged to work together and think as one, enhancing their collaboration.

ProofHub

The ProofHub software facilitates communication where different people can use chats to pass messages around. It enhances organisation in online learning projects improving not only communication but also collaboration among students from various parts of the world learning together. Projects can be successfully completed by using this software; every member will be on the same page as the other in the group. Whenever there is a document that should be used, everyone can access it, they can then discuss issues through chats and be able to come up with excellent learning material. Ideas are explored and shared and different tasks allocated to various team members with a set deadline. And the best at is anyone can access documents from wherever they are on any device. Documents can be edited through Smartphones conveniently. ProofHub reduces any delays in task delivery and at the end; it ensures group collaboration has been achieved.

Skype

Today it is rare to find e-learning students that are not familiar with Skype. The young generation has mastered almost every social media platform, and Skype is among the popular ones used for communication via video. Skype is an online communication software that enables video chat between more than two people. The instructor can hold a meeting online with their students, they can give put more instructions about a certain task allocated through such videos. Group learning is enhanced; it is reliable, easy to use and convenient enough for distant collaboration. A student can further contact their instructor whenever they have any questions or needs assistance at their extra time. Any concerns can be conveniently raised progress monitored and discussed through such meetings. Considering the familiarity of this tool by most learners, they will feel more at ease and confident to use Skype for learning.

MindMeister

It is a collaborative online tool that allows teams to plan and come up with ideas on one mind map document in the initial stages of any projects or group work. It offers mid maps, and SWOT analysis and project planning templates to be used by groups for collaboration in course work. It also contains the option for holding a live chat which enhances teamwork, group collaboration through direct and fast communication and facilitates efficient online learning. Additionally, students can use it asynchronously.

SlideRocket

SlideRocket is a web-based presentation tool that can be easily used for creating appealing and engaging presentations. Just like the rest, students and instructors can access SlideRocket from wherever they are. Group members will collaboratively use this tool to work on creating a document presentation. When done with the presentation, there is a unique link for every document used that learners can give to their instructor or fellow students for easy accessibility. A SlideRocket prepared presentation can contain images, different themes and audios to aid pass the message more early. One group can share its presentation with another group for knowledge exchange and any other person interested where invites are sent to allow sharing. Furthermore, one presentation can be used as many times as allowed by applying slight changes to the content. Learners can access data in real time from live feeds on Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo and Google Spreadsheets for learning purposes. Presentations can be posted in class groups for feedback from learners and instructors. Thereafter, SlideRocket analytics, later on, measures the effectiveness of presentations by displaying the number of people that viewed it with feedback. 

BigMarker

It utilises webinars to facilitate communication through video conferences among learning team members. BigMarker enables members to use webinars to hold discussions within themselves and with instructors. Automatic email invitations can be sent to those who would wish to take part in a webinar. The best part is that these webinars can be flexibly conducted from anywhere at either present time or in the future. For instance, when a project needs to be accomplished in groups, every member can take up a specific task. They can then prepare their own presentations at their own pace, adhering to the deadline of course. Then record audios and webcams if necessary and later on presents it to the whole group for viewing, further discussion and sharing. When a live video chat is conducted, it can be recorded for later viewing for some of the members that were not presented the time. It makes sure no one misses out on anything that was collaboratively carried out. Each member has a page that monitors their participation and attendance. This is the trick of BigMarker ensuring every member tries their best to participate and work together with the rest of the team.

No student really wants to be the lowest performing member of the group, they want to work o the same pace as others in collaboration to achieve the group goals. These online collaborative tools ensure this and more is accomplished in online learning.

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