About Me

Hi and welcome to my blog!
My name is Debbie Morris.
I am currently a Career Technology Coordinator
at our local high school. I am a Walden University
student. This blog was created as part of my
coursework for Walden University. I hope you
enjoy my blog!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Assessing Collaborative Efforts
Module 3 assignment    July 13, 2011

In looking at the many types of learning environments, including face to face and distant learning, the majority of assessment and evaluation should be completed by the instructor.  Guidelines are beneficial for both the student and instructor.  These guidelines are made clear through the use of a syllabus and rubrics.  Rubrics are an effective tool and give accurate assessment (Palloff & Praff, 2005).  Rubrics provide an outline of what is expected, give students expectations and allow them to self evaluate their work (Palloff & Praff, 2005).  I find a rubric very helpful and use it as a check off when self evaluating my work.  Although the majority of the assessment process comes from the instructor, a student is continuously evaluating their own work.  Also, students benefit greatly by having a peer review their work. George Siemens, (Laureate Education, 2008)  includes peer assessment in his assessment model for the collaborative learning environment.  I personally prefer implementing peer review rather than peer evaluation.  I find it very difficult to evaluate my peers.  This is especially difficult when the work is unclear and difficult for most of the class.  As a classroom teacher, I thoroughly enjoy using peer review.  I see students growing in their academic skills, learning the material, increasing expression skills and social skills.  Students provide valuable feedback for one another during review sessions.   However, I look at peer evaluation as something totally different.  I feel the instructor is in the best position to evaluate student’s work for a grade.

Online communities and learning environments have common goals and work together in reaching these goals.  This is basically how the majority of corporate life works.  I do have to recognize that some students really work better alone.  I find this to be the case in any type of learning environment.  Some people just function better when working alone.  We are all unique and different.  As a classroom teacher, if a student asks to work alone on a project, I usually allow this.  Instructors in a face to face classroom setting have an advantage in that they know the personalities of their students and are able to answer immediate questions and provide feedback right away. 

Online communities have to be assessed individually and as a group.  Instructors have to consider factors such as students completing post on time, discussions and responses to classmates.  They must investigate if an individual student was not able to complete an assignment due to a classmate’s late response or lack of input.  This is why communication is so important not just between students, but between students and instructors.  Students in online classes need to have a sense of trust and open communication with their instructors.  Curt Walden (Walden 2010) post in his blog that an assessment plan should take into consideration the individual differences in student’s abilities.  He states that instructors have to guard against stonewalling (“I missed the bus” or “The dog ate my laptop”) tactics.

A learning community’s communication and sense of trust is very important to all members.  Each member has to work toward their common goal.   In any group whether it is face to face or online, different roles will be played out by members of the community.   Lack of understanding assignments is sometimes the cause of a member’s inattentiveness.  Members should inquire about this with the team member.  If this is unsuccessful, the team should bring the difficulty to the attention of the instructor.  

Palloff  and Pratt (2005) explain how small groups are more effective.  This is true in both face to face and online communities.  Groups seem to work better when they are made up of less than five members.  Larger learning communities tend to make some members distant and non contributors to the team.


 Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008). Assessment of Collaborative Learning [Video program]. Available from  http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5260640&Survey=1&47=7338982&ClientNodeID=984645&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating Online Learning Together in Community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Walden, C. (2010).  Collaborative Learning Assessment [Web Blog Post].


  1. I agree with you that rubrics provide students an guideline of what is expected of them concerning projects and assignments. I also think that peer assessments can provide feedback and be just as informative for students in addition to what the instructor gives as a grade. I do think that sometimes students can see things that we don't see.

  2. Debra,

    I find a number of items laudable in your blog. They all are important components of an arduous pedagogical process. Of particular note is the peer review. In my college speech communication class, peer-reviews are an important aspect of the class, and the students are becoming increasing constructive in their assessment of each other's work.

    Thanks for allowing an insightful look into your classroom pedagogy.