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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Online Group Work: Facilitating Interdisciplinary Peer Learning

Cath Ellis, Catriona Elder.

In making the decision to include group learning in a team-taught, interdisciplinary subject, we were particularly interested in the benefits this would have for student learning. But we did so, also, on the understanding that group work is notoriously difficult. We have developed through a process of planning, experimentation and reflection, a group learning activity that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the problems associated with group-based learning. In fact, in terms of the routine problems of student assessment, we have discovered that online group learning has certain advantages that cannot be replicated in any of the more traditional learning environments, making the online environment ideally suited to this kind of activity.

In this paper we will specifically discuss the benefits of this group work to interdisciplinary learning. We will discuss how online group work is particularly suited to helping students build collaborative peer learning relationships.


Cath Ellis  (Australia)
School of English Literatures, Philosophy and Languages Faculty of Arts
University of Wollongong

Catriona Elder  (Australia)
School of History and Politics, Faculty of Arts
University of Wollongong

  • Peer Learning
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Online Learning
  • Group Work

(30 min Conference Paper, English)