Strategies for sharing the ReMoTe: changing the nature of online collaboration
Online learning or e-learning has had an impact on the way many institutions around the world provide opportunities for learning. For the past five years, the University of Wollongong, like many others, has taken a blended approach to online learning. Blended learning combines face-to-face and online learning. In the online component, learners interact with Web pages and online resources under the umbrella of a course management system (CMS). While the CMS has been highly successful, there are some online teaching and learning functions that could not be easily undertaken. These involve group work, and it was believed that an online system that fostered cooperation, collaboration, social and active learning would provide opportunities for deep learning (Ramsden, 1992). For some time many researchers have sought a solution for online collaboration or group work that moved beyond text-based discussions. The work by others in the area of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) has provided insightful theoretical contributions (Crawley, 2003; Jefferies, 2002; Paavola, Lipponen, & Hakkarainen, 2002). To explore CSCL, the University of Wollongong funded an initiative that proved the concept of online collaboration through the use of databasedriven Web pages. The initiative was called CUPID.