Saturday, July 2, 2011

Elements of Distance Education Diffusion: Collaborative Interaction

Collaborative interaction has come a long way in distance education.  Interaction in distance education settings is generally different from the traditional classroom.  This is due to the fact that “distance teaching seems to be more effective to independent, autonomous adult learners who prefer to control their own learning situations, while traditional teaching make children's learning more comfortable” (Hailan Chen, 1998, ¶ 2). 

“The most frequent method for encouraging student interaction appears to be regular discussion questions posed by the instructor” (Jason Baker, 1999, ¶ 14).  Interaction has grown over time and has allowed more methods of collaboration.  One way that this has happen is through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  According to Curt Vavra, “becoming comfortable communicating in an online environment with family and friends allows people to practice and develop skills for later use in educational or business settings” (2010, ¶ 1).    

Micah Miner pointed out that another way collaborative interaction is increasing in distance education is through the use of Wikis.  According to his blog, “wikis can promote collaboration in group assignments, encourage negotiation, and make students comfortable with new generation of technology tools” (2010, ¶ 2).  We can also see this throughout programs at Walden University that involve students utilizing Wikis for courses.  As time continues to progress, we will continue to see collaborative interactions become more common and plentiful in the future.

Baker, Jason. (February 1999). Student Interaction in Online Distance Education.  Retrieved on July 2, 2011 from

Chen, Hailan. (1998). Interaction in Distance Education.  Retrieved on July 1, 2011 from

Miner, Micah. (2010). Ed Tech, Social Science Teaching, & Urban Education.   Retrieved on July 1, 2011 from…/

Vavra, Curt. (2010, September 30). Collaborative Interaction: An Important Element of Distance Education. Retrieved on July 2, 2011 from


  1. Hi Ashley,

    You stated, "As time continues to progress, we will continue to see collaborative interactions become more common and plentiful in the future." I know that it has already changed in the past few years (from the time I was working on my Master's till now working in these classes). During the Master's the only collaboration required was the discussions. Now we are required to interact through discussions, wikis, and blogs. At first it was a bit confusing keeping everything straight. Now I think I am getting the hang of everything. How have you faired with all the new collaboration required? -Belinda

  2. I really like using wikis as a student as well as in my own classroom. They are a great way to get students engaged, collaborating, and thinking critically. The asynchronous nature of wikis is also nice for group projects. It allows me to assign a project, but not have to spend a lot of class time wandering through class and making sure everyone is on task. I can simply check their progress online and guide them as necessary. Great post.