Online courses vary greatly in their requirements for collaborative, or group-centered, work. However, most collaborative
learners do fairly well in online courses, because they enjoy learning from their classmates and their instructors, and most
online courses involve some kind of interaction (chat, discussion board, e-mail, etc). Some online courses even involve group
The main problem that collaborative learners face is the lack of face-to-face interaction. Most collaborative learners
are extroverts, who enjoy social interactions. A good strategy for a collaborative learner is to schedule a few meetings
with the instructor, just to touch base and talk about the course.
Another problem faced by some collaborative learners is the problem of helping a classmate too much, and crossing the
line into cheating and/or plagiarism. Familiarize yourself with the syllabus, especially the policy on studying together,
sharing answers, cheating, and plagiarism. Familiarize yourself with your institution's policies on plagiarism and cheating.
If you have a question, ask the instructor. Don't take risks, even if it means that you disappoint a classmate.
Resources for Collaborative Learners
Check out some of these resources for collaborative learners.
Normandale's Code of Conduct
A lighthearted tutorial on plagiarism
In online courses, competitive learners have advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that there is usually some interactive
component of the course, where the competitive learner can see what other people are saying, and perhaps even read some of
his/her classmates' work. This helps the competitive learner know how he/she is measuring up against his/her classmates,
which is important to this type of learner.
There are several potential problems with the competitive learning style in an online environment. First, a competitive
learner may make comments or ask questions that embarrass other students. It's important to know the rules of netiquette
and privacy. It's never OK to ask another student what his/her grades are, or to point out the weaknesses of a fellow student
in a negative way. It also makes a poor impression if a competitive learner tries to outshine other students to garner public
praise from the instructor.
Some strategies for the competitive learner include setting up a competition with oneself. Set grade or performance goals
for each assignment, and see if you can reach them. Review netiquette guidelines, and make a concerted effort to follow these
rules when communicating with students and the instructor. Set up a few meetings with the instructor to find out how you
are doing, and to find out how he/she feels about your performance in the class.
Resources for Competitive Learners
Here are some resources for competitive learners.
Top Five Netiquette Rules for Online Classes
The Core Rules of Netiquette
Setting SMART Goals