The “I know it when I see it” form of collaboration is no longer valid.
We need new ways to tell if learning is happening through group contribution. We need to be able to assess collaboration, but we can’t do it the same way that we assess writing or proficiency. Those skills are much easier to boil down to a continuum or rubric. Others have tried, and we have been for the most part satisfied with their traditional, enigmatic, and mostly non-educational continuums for collaboration.
These forms, however, are not worthy of our cause. They provide us with a way to see things in an abstract sense, showing a fictional path to collaboration that is just as hopeless as using the term as a buzzword to show that change is occurring.
Instead, I would like to outline the types of collaboration that occur in The Ripe Environment. These are the markers that we should be striving for and looking for:
- Learning objects to be used by multiple learners, created by multiple learners. (This does not include one person writing or creating and the others supplying their input. True collaboration means that everyone has their fingerprints on the potting wheel.)
- Collaborative asynchronous lists. (Never underestimate the power of listing. And yet, the power is not in the listing. It is in the reordering, reorganizing, and reconstituting a list. Think of wiki collaboration here.)
- A followable thread of discussion (This can be through linking, commenting, or something like voicethread)
- Shared Space with over 10 revisions (Any object or space that has been edited or revised more than ten times by multiple authors can be considered a respectable work of collaboration).
- A mash-up or remix of anything (This type of collaboration marker is the halmark of true collaboration. The best examples are when the masher doesn’t know the mashee. That is when the unintended (but most amazing) concequences of sharing and collaboration kick in.)
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list. What are the other markers of collaboration in The Ripe Environment?