A new conceptual frame for group work: group connoisseurship

Clara O'Shea, Tim Fawns

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Digital and global education is opening up new pedagogical strategies with an increased focus on group learning and assessment that acknowledges the collaborative, co- constructed nature of meaning making. Online forms of assessment surface issues such as notions of authorship, academic quality and the integration of different modalities, and challenge traditional understandings of summative assessment. Collaborative assessments in digital environments are particularly troublesome, requiring both educators and learners to grapple with these complexities and come to a consensus in often time-limited and high stakes circumstances.
Drawing on our recent research (O’Shea and Fawns, 2014a; 2014b), this paper offers a new model for understanding group work in online, distance environments. We argue that moving toward “group connoisseurship” is a way of creating situated and shared understandings between group members, and bringing group members into academic alignment. We outline some key themes that require negotiation of consensus for group connoisseurship to develop and propose two interconnected pedagogical strategies (dialogues and disruptions) for helping scaffold the development of those themes. We argue for a curriculum design in which disruptions of individual ownership, authority and environment are progressively rebalanced through unfolding dialogues around expectations and processes, leading the learning through a network of threshold concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings: The Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference
PublisherThe European Association of Distance Teaching Universities
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-79730-14-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • group connoisseurship
  • collaborative assessment
  • digital education
  • dialogue


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