LInC ACT Project Collaboration Tips
Integrating technology in projects to allow successful
collaboration with students at other schools or experts in far
away places takes some planning and expectations management.
Here are some implementation tips for finding collaborators and
helping the collaboration run smoothly.
Collaborating with Students at Other Schools
several resources with guidelines on announcing and
implementing a successful inter-school project collaboration.
TRECC offers free videoconferencing for educators.
- jabber.org is a
public server for chatting and instant messaging. You can use
the software we used at Fermilab (Adium and Gaim) to connect
to jabber.org .
Collaborating with Experts
Below are resources for
finding and communicating with online experts.
Tips for Collaborating with Online Experts
- Arrange several relevant expert collaborators ahead of
time. Then if one falls through, you still have your other
- Communicate clearly with the expert ahead of time to find
out what types of collaboration and how much of it they are
interested in and able to provide.
- Do they prefer to communicate by online chat or
e-mail or . . .?
- Are they willing to receive questions and send
responses only to the class as a whole, to several
different teams within the class, or to individual
- About how many times during the project will
questions be sent?
- About how many questions will be in an e-mail?
- What kind of response time can they provide (a day, a
couple days, a week)?
- When does the project start and end?
- Communicate the level of your students to the experts so
they know what audience to target their responses to.
Remember that the expert may not have frequent contact with
students, so they may not know how a response should differ
for a fifth grader versus a ninth grader. You may need to
provide an example question with three responses (one at too
low a level, one just right, and one at too high a level) to
- Also discuss the collaboration with your students. Let
your students know what the expert has agreed to in terms of
quantity of questions, frequency of questions and response
time so your students know what to expect. Talk and
brainstrom with your students about what makes a good
question for an expert. This might include things like:
- It does not involve the expert solving the problem
- It is related to the expert's field of
- It is not a factual answer that can easily be looked
- It is an open-ended question or a request for an
opinion/fresh perspective related to your project problem
- It is not too broad in scope (requiring a very long
- Monitor students and experts during the project to ensure
- The expert is not being overloaded.
- Students are sending good quality
- Students are receiving timely responses.
- The responses are at the right level for student
- Remember to thank your experts and your students at the
end of the project!