Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Distance Education and Collaborative Interaction

                Dr. George Siemens discussed how global diversity, communication, and collaborative interaction have all contributed to the growing acceptance of distance education in today's society - corporately and educationally.  I particularly want to focus on collaborative interaction.  Coming from an education background, sometimes it is hard for me to relate to how distance education has vastly improved collaborating.  This is something that I have always had to participate in my face-to-face classes and have been pushed to incorporate into my own classroom so it is not a foreign concept.              

                However, online tools have provided us the ability to collaborate without always being near one another, which is a major convenience.  We are now able to share ideas asynchronously and synchronously.  Micah, high school teacher and adjunct professor, ( is a proponent for the use of the wiki as a way to further create a culture of collaboration, a skill learners will need in order to survive in global competition.   Maria Dolores ( also believes that collaborative interaction is important to distance education.  Like Micah, she mentions the use of wikis but also Google docs, video-and web- conferencing.  These tools help to keeps us connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with our colleagues and fellow learners.  With face-to-face education, you only have the set times that you agree to meet to share your ideas.  Online tools help to alleviate that disconnect.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008). (n.d.).  The future of distance education.  [Video Production]. Available from

Dolores, M. (2011, March 30). Collaborative interaction. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Minerclass. (2011, December 31). Collaborative interaction in distance education. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from


  1. I agree with you that the benefits of collaborative interaction in distance education are immeasurable. It has reduced the feelings of isolation when working online. The use of asynchronous online collaboration increased learner interaction, satisfaction and learning. The use of research assignments, group work, shared facilitation, and discussion forums through the use of technologies such as Skype and Google docs has improved the level of interaction among learners and the faculty.

  2. I will also have to agree online tools benefit distance education in many ways. I couldn't imagine taking classes online and not having access to Skype or Wiki. It would make collaborating with group members very stressful.

  3. We are all aware that the online learning format provides the opportunity to create a highly social learning environment, characterized by participation and interactivity for both students and instructors. I do enjoy very much the amount and methods of collaborative learning that Walden University requires in each course. I never liked collaborative learning projects in traditional face to face setting, and honestly, I never learned much from those projects. I learn the best by doing things on my own. I never understood the importance of collaborative learning in school, and personally, I believe that students should have the choice to agree to work on their own or become part of a small group. The truth is that most students will agree to work on their own. My experience with on-line collaborative learning has been so far a truly active learning experience. On-line collaborative learning tools allow students to construct their own knowledge through discovery, discussion, and expert guidance. Through online collaboration, students are granted the opportunity to share thoughts and interact with peers, facilitators, and experts in a defined area.