Collaborative learning is different to conservative teaching and learning (L&T) approach. It is an interactive learning and there are many terms can relate to the strategies of this kind of learning as mentioned by Panitz (1999). Some of the important terms used to elaborate the collaborative learning are such as “student centered/teacher-centered; intrinsic/extrinsic motivation; knowledge construction/knowledge transmission; and loose term including, “trusting-students-to-do”, “structure-it-right: social engineering.” By implementing collaborative learning in class, student can get a break from a long and boring lecture, could share their point of view, could hear other opinions, increase their leadership skill and learn to do research and learn to make important decision. They also can build their self esteem, help to enhance student satisfaction (when learning with experience) and increase the student retention.  It is a key component in 21st teaching and learning. An example of collaborative learning strategies can be as simple as a think-pair- share activity, or jigsaw group, or more complex activity with problem based learning. A short video available in here discussing the difference between collaborative and cooperative learning. Similarly, an interactive video about Cooperative Learning strategies is available via this link for more understanding.

Alhamdulillah, for this semester (2019/2020-2), even though suddenly we’d jump to emergency remote teaching due the the COVID-19 pandemic,  which I’m turning my Soil Mechanics class into an asynchronous online, I managed to carried out a collaborative learning via designated phase to phase project task. With 39 students, all of them was sorted in few group based on their leadership skills (by answering a survey at the beginning of class). Before this project, students also have gone through a series of group activities,
i. Soil Identification Activities – hands on activity of determining the state of soil condition) (wet, dry, types, etc)
ii. Zero to Hero : Jigsaw and gallery walk activities – solving questions and presentations on Soil Classification system
iii. Laboratory Visits – to knowing the Soil Compaction tools and also the Soil Classification tools (cone penetrometer, dry sieve etc).
Alhamdulillah all these three group activities managed to be carried out during the face to face class (before the pandemic).

During the pandemic, the mode of class changed into online mode, after do a quick survey via class representative, I’ve decided to carried out the class using asynchronous manner. A series of pre-recorded video with each video length up to 15 minutes only is prepared by using Screencast-O-Matic software. During the class schedule, I will give time to student to complete the video and ask if any question arises. In addition, an interactive quiz (via quizizz) and entry/exit task (such as to prepare a summary from a video) is given at the beginning/end of the class to help students understand the learning objective per class session. Supplementary videos from youtube also provided to help enhance the students understanding especially to give new perspective on the theory application is geotechnics engineering. All these teaching and learning activities were conducted via e-learning platform. From students response, alhamdulillah, by providing recorded video with short recorded time, it do helps then to focus and they able to keep repeating things that they want to catch up again.

For group task, the task itself splitted into four different stages. This phase by phase is carried out to help me for easily guided the students achieve their milestones of the project. In addition, by have different phase of project work, more room for communication can be carried out and students also response much more better in terms of work progress.

For first phase, as I understand that even this is group work, an average individual basis knowledge is very important to have a good kick start for any project. To do that, the first phase conducted with task for each of student. With the given title/scopes, students can do their own reviews of any interested topic from the list. The y have to do some general reading and comes with simple 3D sketching on a selected topic. 2 weeks is allocated for them to delivery this task. Once they upload they idea in e-learning, I as lecturer want through their ideas and alhamdulillah, from this benchmark assessment, I could see most of students do their reading and manage to provide simple 3D sketch,some with minor comments.

Once, they understand the first task, they proceed to continue select the best topic for their group presentations. At this phase, I monitor their discussion via padlet. One to two weeks is allocated for this phase. Similarly, as they could see other groups discussion, they could ensure to select a topic that yet to be done by others. However, due to some miscommunications, they use anonymous username in padlet, so it is actually quite hard for lecturer to indicate who’s talk whom/what, however basis of marks still given as lecturer could see the discussion was carried out and topic was selected properly. If one could improve in future, I would like to explore more on what is much more suitable design for padlet group discussion (for easiness view) and to remind then to use their names in the padlet.

The third phase then carried out within one month after the phase 2. In group, students a required to prepare for progress of work. An interview session of 10 to 15 minutes was carried out via online medium (webex meeting). Students are required to prepare any supplementary material for interview such as sketching/ppt, it can be a draft or final one, and prepare a short presentation 5 minutes, then they will have QnA. All group member must participate in interview session. Outstandingly, all groups mostly ready with final stage presentations and some of the group provide a very good findings.

At end of the project phase, which one month after the interview/presentations, students finally submitted their presentations which dedicated to reach school students. A series of video, poster and supplementary slides were submitted in manageable form shows for very high commitment and perseverance that students have to complete this task. Bravo!
For more, You may check my students work via in here.

For conclusion, Alhamdulillah even though  during the pandemic, the burden of work compiling and it is very hard to commit (for myself), but back again to our teaching,

Mudahan-mudahan Allah redho.