Connecting students with group work
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Virtual learning environments provide an attractive method for information dissemination, but they are often adopted because of their technical innovativeness with little thought given to integrating the medium with learning objectives and pedagogical strategies. Moreover, computer-based learning is used increasingly as the solution to the problems associated with flexible learning, particularly for students situated in different locations and studying in different modes. Too often, though, global education typically lacks social and collaborative activities with the unintended consequence of feelings of social isolation. Technology can separate rather than connect students. This paper describes an action research project at Murdoch University, Australia. The project was a process of planning and evaluation of a group collaboration designed to connect multimodal and geographically disparate students. The analyses of the group collaboration indicate that the students gained significant benefits from collaborating online without meeting face-to-face.