"We should stop thinking of an education as something [that] is attained by, and that benefits, an individual in isolation from the rest of the social network in which he or she resides. This is not to disclaim the importance of personal responsibility, and personal achievement, inherent in education. But it is to place these in an appropriate context." from Public Policy, Research and Online Learning by Stephen Downes (2003)

"[There is a] distinction, for some students, between the pleasure of online collaborative study and the pain of collaborative assessment." from Assessing online collaborative learning: process and product by Jane Macdonald (2003)

This chapter is about ways of assessing learning that occurs in collaborative situations. A number of controversial issues in assessment become particularly salient in collaborative situations:

  • how to assess a group/community/organisation's learning (over and above what individual members may have learnt)
  • how and when to assess individual contributions to a group project
  • how to structure assessment so as to encourage the creation of authentic new knowledge and knowledge products rather than learning for the sake of assessment
  • how to assess the learning process in addition to learning outcomes


Collaborative learning environments sourcebook

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