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Managing Conflict in Online Student Groups

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Title:Managing Conflict in Online Student Groups
Authors:Dool, Richard
Author Affiliation:Richard Dool - Seton Hall University
Date Issued:2010
Abstract:The use of teams by organizations of all sizes and orientation has grown significantly. Almost 70% of my online students have reported working in teams in some form, in the last 12 months. Additionally, as globalization compresses time and space, the use of virtual teams continues to rise. I use group assignments in virtually all my online and on-campus courses because I believe that learning to be an effective member of a team, especially a virtual team, has become a necessary career competency. The sources of conflicts in student groups mirror those of face-to-face groups. Most conflict can be traced to differences in expected outcomes (grades), roles, style, values and resources (time), or basic personality conflicts. Because communication is often asynchronous and virtual, there are more opportunities for miscommunication. Online instructors often do not have the luxury of "seeing" the conflict holistically. This paper discusses the causes of conflict in student groups, the various behaviors that contribute to the conflict and the instructor strategies and practices that will reduce the impact of conflicts on the learning experience. In practice, the processes offered in this paper have reduced evident conflicts by 70%.
Pages/Duration:11 pages
Rights:Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
Appears in Collections: TCC 2010 Proceedings

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