Collaboration in online courses in Slovakia

Pisutova, Katarina (2012). Collaboration in online courses in Slovakia. EdD thesis The Open University.



Comprehensive analyses of online and collaborative learning methods in the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe are nearly non-existent. Yet, these nations typically have authoritarian teaching and learning traditions which present unique and significant challenges to the development of these methods, and which are poorly understood at present. This thesis provides a thorough examination of how collaborative activities are used in online courses, and of student and teacher perceptions of these methods, in the Slovak Republic (Slovakia), and postulates that its findings are relevant and valuable for the many newly open societies in the region that are now entering the online teaching world. Research involved case studies of two Slovak higher education institutions, and interviews with administrators and teachers from a number of Slovak educational institutions. Findings can be summarized as follows:
• Collaboration is rarely used as a teaching method in Slovakia, particularly in online settings
• Students do not expect to be asked to participate in discussions, but when asked they seem to have no problem embracing the method.
• Instructors at many Slovak institutions lack the motivation and training to promote and use collaborative methods in their online courses
• The few instructors who make the effort to implement some of these methods use mostly asynchronous discussions.
Further analysis of data and findings leads to suggestions for improving the use of collaborative methods in online learning on three key levels: the course level, the institutional level, and the national policy level.

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