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Cohesion in online environments


This paper presents a study of group cohesion as it arises in online small group different time and place collaboration. Cohesion is modeled in terms of the extent to which a group makes progress together through contentful and meaningful collaborative interactions. This paper makes the case that cohesion in a small group working collaboratively online emerges as a result of the overall level of engagement settled into by the group. As students participate in a collaborative task, they make choices in the extent and way in which they engage in a particular aspect of that task. The choices made by students in how to engage determine the scope and quality of the cohesion that emerges. Data were collected from a one-semester course where students worked on design problems in an online, different time and place, community in small groups. The collective pattern of engagement gives insights into characteristics of the cohesion that emerges within the community and within each small group.

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Correspondence to Maria Altebarmakian or Richard Alterman.

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Altebarmakian, M., Alterman, R. Cohesion in online environments. Intern. J. Comput.-Support. Collab. Learn 14, 443–465 (2019).

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  • Cohesion
  • Online different time and place collaboration
  • Engagement