- Communication, Language
- Group Processes
- Intergroup Relations
- Internet and Virtual Psychology
- Persuasion, Social Influence
In 1999 Drs. Thomas Treadwell, Donna Ashcraft and Evan Leach organized a multidisciplinary collaborative task force with members at various universities to create and test a model for the integration of technology focusing on collaborative online research and learning (CORAL) (e.g., Chamberlin, 2000; Treadwell, 1999; Treadwell, et al., 1999; Treadwell, Leach, Kellar, Lewis & Mittan, 1998). This task force believes that classrooms should provide places where students have the opportunity to be learners actively working together on a specific learning objective, a goal endorsed by the Forum on Technology in Education (U. S. Department of Education, 1999) and others (e.g., Dede, 2000). Therefore, the model developed by this task force has used the Internet as collaborative tool connecting university-level students in varied disciplines and at distant sites in an effort to complete a joint project. Dr. Treadwell and Dr. Ashcraft are the professors who teach the social psychology laboratory course, at two different universities, integrating video conferencing and computer technology with students across distant sites from 2000 - 2009. In spring of 2010 Dr. Treadwell decided to cross disciplines and merge psychology and management students. Thus, Dr. Leach, a management professor, saw the value in a social laboratory course and felt the integration of management students to focus on applied problems in the workplace would add dimensions for both student majors.
West Chester University of Pennsylvania, College of Arts & Science: Students from a social psychology laboratory course at West Chester University participate in this collaborative project. They review the dynamics of teamwork in collaborating with groups electronically and face-to-face. Topics covered during class include the foundations of group work, developmental stages of how groups evolve over time, group structure, how groups design systems of roles and inter member bonding, and the transformation of individuals from a collection of unrelated persons into a cohesive group. Social psychological constructs covered include, but not limited to, social loafing, in-groups and out-groups, persuasion, influence, attributions, stages of group development, groupthink, superordinate goals, along with group member roles as they apply to the collaborative on-line learning.
West Chester University of Pennsylvania, College of Business: Students from a Senior Seminar Management course also participate in this collaborative project. The emphasis of this course is to explore the design, management and evaluation of high performance teams in work settings. Students assume the role of management consultants focusing on developing an interdisciplinary (management and psychology) approach to addressing critical organizational problems and collaboratively develop a set of practical remedies to these problems. Management constructs covered include team performance measurement, process consultation, root-cause analysis, continuous improvement and small group theory. Students are encouraged to conduct periodic self evaluations and implement managerial strategies designed to optimize their team’s performance.
The CORAL model fosters self-regulating thinking along with working amongst peers cultivating three major objectives:
(1) Incorporates several different teaching and learning styles, thereby providing a more inclusive learning format for a variety of learners.
(2) The model is structured by the professors, but led by the students and therefore fosters independent thinking and active learning.
(3) Encourages students to seek outside opinions without fear of being criticized.
(4) Fosters the distinction between Collaborative and Cooperative learning as an indispensable preliminary step when designing an operational collaborative learning and workplace environment!
The CORAL model is supported by State System of Higher Education Faculty Professional Development Council (FPDC) grant, Pedagogy for Engagement Grants (PEGs), State System of Higher Education Faculty Professional Development Grant and West Chester University Presidential Initiative Funding Grant.
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|Photo of Tom Treadwell
Department of Psychology
33 Peoples Building
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: (610) 436-2723
Fax: (215) 898-1865