What is Collaboration? How can I build collaborative activities for my students?


To me, collaboration is where your part makes my part better and my part makes your part better. Our parts may even change each other's parts. We help each other think more deeply and there's a level of intimacy, almost like "├╝ber positive interdependence."

If you Google "collaboration rubric," you will have over 5,000 hits returned. Many of these rubrics read like cooperative learning rubrics, and some of them are just bad examples of rubrics. My personal distinction between cooperation and collaboration is basically that cooperation allows you to DO something better with someone else than you could by yourself. Collaboration allows you to CREATE something better with someone else than you could by yourself.

Here are some interesting resources on collaboration and cooperation:

ALA/AASL View on Collaboration Could serve as a resource for creating a cooperation to collaboration rubric - the context for this is how media specialists work with teachers.

Collaboration vs. C-Three (Cooperation, Coordination, and Communication) My favorite of the resources!

The Cooperative Learning Center at the University of Minnesota Co-directed by Roger T. Johnson and David W. Johnson

Dr. Spencer Kagan Articles

Productive Group Work: How to Engage Students, Build Teamwork, and Promote Understanding New book by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, and Sandi Everlov