Cooperative teaching?

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I like to prepare a new history course for my students,  but it can be very time consuming.

If there is a textbook on the subject, you can start from there and add some online material, but unless you have time for hours of surfing, you might not stumble upon the BEST online material for your students.

If you would like to teach “present history”, like the current crisis in Ukraine, you have to build your own collection of resources.

I follow blogs via Twitter, and it is great, but teachers tend to work one-by-one and then share their stuff for others to tweak to their own use. There’s nothing wrong with that, but would it be possible to actually “pitch” an online workspace with a few peers and co-create a course on Ukraine-Russia? You would probably tweak this course to you own needs anyway, but the point is, in my experience, you get better ideas, when you work with others.

So where can you hang out, what are the best, open online workspaces for teachers to curate, share and co-create  materials inside/outside your faculty?

How do you “ping” the right people to your workspace?


Here’s the tools I can think of:


1) Google Docs / Google+

Very simple : Paste links and thoughts into a shared document, for instance on the Ukraine-Russia conflict (in Danish) . No sign-in required. Google+ requires a google account.

Any cons?

Have you ever prepared a course with peers outside your faculty? If so, how?


2) list

Listly is a tool for curating lists. Could this tool be used for curating academic resources?  Here’s a very short example.

Pros: Teachers can vote items up and down.

This looks better than a google doc, but you have to sign up on (Maybe it shouldn’t matter how a workspace looks – but it does.)

Credit: Capture Queen on Flickr – (CC BY 2.0)

3) Buddypress group

Buddypress is a social plugin for WordPress. Members of your site can create  new groups with filesharing and a forum. Example here.


4) Facebook groups

Facebook has become the most well-known and used platform for teachers – at least in my country. I participate in a few groups, and  it is very ad hoc  ‘Q and A’  : You post a question and get more or less response in a comment thread, and then on to the next question. People share files, but they don’t cowrite new stuff.

Pros: User base. Lots of teachers have a facebook account.

Cons: You might get distracted by commercials and, well friends…


5) Linked In historyteacher’s group

Recently I discovered that Linked In also have groups, could this be it? I joined a historyteachers group of +9000 members – but again: You can start a “discussion” , very similar to a facebook thread.


Have you ever prepared a course with peers outside your faculty? If so, how?

Which online platforms have I missed?

Please share your thoughts 🙂

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One comment

  1. Just read an excellent blog by Harold Jarche on the difference between collaborative and cooperative work. He defines the terms like this: “collaboration happens around some kind of plan or structure, while cooperation presumes the freedom of individuals to join and participate.”
    We tend to extol the cooperative as modern, cutting-edge and perhaps even politically correct, but the collaborative has – as Jarche points out – its strengths. Perhaps we sometimes get stuck in the mud when it comes to network created courses because we rely on the cooperative approach. I think a central question for the future will be how we can stay creative as we collaborate on creating courses. Perhaps the trick is to generate ideas and collect content cooperatively and then turn ideas and content into courses in a collaborative work mode?

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