Title: The Discord Platform: peer to peer collaboration for interdisciplinary learning and teaching to overcome disconnection
Presenter: Tabin Brooks
Co-presenter(s): Dr Linda Hazell
Faculty / Division: Division of Student Services
School / Unit:
Session Type: Interactive Discussion
When: Friday, 19 November 2021 @ 11:15am – 12:15pm)
The Discord platform: peer to peer collaboration for interdisciplinary learning and teaching to overcome disconnection. Abstract: The “wicked problem” in education of developing learners with collaborative interdisciplinary approaches to real-world problems, as identified by Cantor, DeLauer, Martin and Rogan (2015) has been thrust into the spotlight with the intersection of public relations, scientific advancement and media messaging as individuals attempt to counter “feelings of existential threat” (Bruder & Kunert, 2021). Any one of the complex socio-environmental issues currently in the news (such as climate change, the COVID pandemic, or civil unrest due to erosion of belief in democratic systems) would be enough to warrant a designation of ‘existential threat’, but these could even be labeled as a societal trauma (Cantor et al., 2015; Zimmerman, 2020).
It is against the backdrop of some of the most serious and global problems humanity has faced that we, as educators, attempt to raise the next generation of thinkers with both hope and resilience against an uncertain future. Whilst this may at first appear to provide too lofty of a goal, one of the initial steps in addressing these issues, as mentioned by Cantor et al., (2015) is engagement in collaborative styles of learning and relating, across a broad scope of disciplines, experiences, demographic and socioeconomic histories.
To start this engagement from the earliest days of the experience of higher education potentially paves the way for effective academic action on both micro and macro scales. Within the Pathways program at CSU, the use of these collaborative strategies has been implemented with students from diverse backgrounds to encourage engagement and participation. Unprecedented modifications have been made to the basic format of educational experiences as a result of pivoting to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent challenges that have arisen during 2020 and 2021. Using asynchronous and synchronous tactics to enhance the quality of group focused activities and the experience of teamwork in the academic environment was introduced during 2020 and implemented as a recommended tool for students in 2021.
We propose a discussion centred around the core focal points of logistical efficiency, management of multiple groups or conversations and the use of scaffolded group learning using technology to address limitations experienced in distance learning group tasks, without a concomitant increase in teaching staff workload, to help the learners of tomorrow step into their role as leaders of today. Discussion Question 1: What are the key features of an environment that facilitates online group work? Does the teacher’s perspective differ from the student’s opinions? What creates that difference? Discussion Question 2: Teaching tips for maximising the success of online group work. Engagement, Presence, Outcomes (What do successful groups look like?) (What do unsuccessful groups look like, and how much of this can we, as educating leaders control?) Intended Participant Outcome: Increased confidence and skill in selecting appropriate and evidence based technologies to facilitate group work in an online environment.