Student-identified Benefits to Online Collaboration during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, October 28 | 1:15PM–2:00PM ET
Viewing Location: Online
Session Type: Breakout Session
Delivery Format: Presentation/Panel Session
Collaboration provides affordances such as absorbing different perspectives of knowledge (Chen & You, 2010) and simulating more creative ideas (Makransky & Wismer, 2019). In the design discipline, collaboration is essential for designers to identify problems, needs, and opportunities, and thus to promote an iterative design process. The COVID-19 pandemic introduced challenges for both instructors and students in 2020 as these collaborations could not happen in person. We surveyed the students in a large design fundamentals class about their online collaborative experience throughout the three phases of their individual design projects. For this presentation, we will share findings about the benefits students perceived during collaboration and how the perception of these benefits shifted throughout each stage of the design process. Preliminary findings indicate five types of benefits students perceived throughout their design collaboration: instructional benefits, cognitive benefits, affective benefits, communicative benefits, and technology-based benefits. This project contributes to our understanding of the power of collaboration, even in an online environment. Our findings can empower instructors and instructional designers to build more engaging online learning experiences by including opportunities for student collaboration.


  • Margaret Merrill

    Instructional Design Consultant & Educational Technologist, University of California, Davis
  • Fei Xue

    Graduate Student Researcher, University of California, Davis