Students taking notes and creating summaries together (or not)
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Two collaborative elearning projects using cloud-based productivity tools were undertaken in a large first-year common-core business information systems and technology unit at an Australian university. The first project involved collaborative synchronous and asynchronous note taking and the second project involved collaborative synchronous and asynchronous summarising of unit materials. Enrolment was optional and very low (less than 3 per cent of approximately 600 students) and active participation even lower (even with considerable support provided). Results seem to indicate students need strong motivation to actively participate (especially when lurking can provide seemingly similar results). Students who did actively participate suggest active participation is probably more useful than the collaboration and somewhat resented students lurking. Collaborative elearning offers many rewards for students, teachers, and organisations, and the technology is available to facilitate this, even in very large classes, but it seems significantly harder to achieve than anticipated.
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