Collaborative Exercises in Distance Learning
A collaborative exercise is a good example of formative assessments. Students can work in pairs or in groups. Works are posted and subjected to scrutiny by the other group members. Ideally, this kind of assessment encourages collaboration. Rooms are provided for improvement.
The problem, however, arises when students do not display the expected behavior. Since most students in DE are adults, they are also preoccupied with other equally important things, such as, work and family. Perhaps, some of them no longer value grades as much as they did when they were younger. Thus, they do not participate actively in forum discussions and other group activities.
Another and more serious problem is attitude towards criticism. Not many are able to accept criticism as a mature adult should. It seems that maturity does not necessarily come with age. People age but still think and feel like youngsters. During the first term, the open fora showcased some sort of virtual fights among students. There was even a time when the FIC had to mediate. And for what reason? A simple rebuttal from a classmate. The receiver resorted to the use of foul words apparently because she could not stand being corrected by another student. When a student tries to share an idea that is opposed to another’s, more often than not, feelings get hurt. In this way, pride and ego get in the way and results in a less than healthy discussion.
What was supposed to be a healthy formative assessment resulted in “personalan.” In the process, the objective of encouraging formative learning through collaboration is not achieved. Students opt not to participate to avoid unwelcome comments.
The solution? Collaborative Exercises must be labeled “For Adults Only.” If students cannot handle disapproval, then they may opt to do alternative “Solitary Exercises” that they can accomplish on their own……individually, alone and solo. Just kidding!