CCE Theses and Dissertations

Assessing Individual Contribution in Online Collaborative Activities

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Timothy Ellis

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

William L. Hafner


Online education through the use of an asynchronous learning network is playing an increasingly important role in higher education. The conveniences of time and place independent learning have added to the popularity of online education. Online education offers more than simply a digital representation of a traditional course. Instruction has the potential to be enhanced through the use of Internet based tools. When students are grouped and charged with a common goal, online collaboration can also result.

Collaboration in itself offers many benefits to students during and beyond their academic experience. Therefore assessing such an activity, regardless of communication channels being used is important. The purpose of this study was to focus specifically on the assessment of an individual's contribution in collaborative activity conducted online or in a hybrid course setting. The product of this study was an instrument designed with the intended purpose of assessing such activities. Through the measurement of student participation, cooperation, and collaboration the assessment of a student's overall contributions to a collaborative activity could be determined.

The development of this instrument was based on an established set of criteria. This set of criteria acted as a standard to which the instrument was designed. The criteria was based on review of the literature and validated through the use of an Expert Panel. The instrument was then tested in four classes. The groups in each class were exposed to both formative and summative feedback that resulted from peer and self-assessment of the activity. The peer and self-assessment of each individual's contributions were based on a set of identifiers also developed and validated by the Expert Panel.

Data gathered from the instrument included both qualitative and quantitative support for the use of such an instrument. This study did develop an instrument for the assessment of collaborative activities. Further research was indicated that would further enhance the instrument and its capabilities.

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