Making Online Teams Work: The Tutor View

Jane Barrett
The Open University, United Kingdom

Helen Kaye
The Open University, United Kingdom


The opportunities and challenges posed by groupsFrom a sociocultural viewpoint, working in a small team can be creative and inspiring, because, given the right conditions, thinking can be enhanced through interactions with others (called interthinking) (Littleton & Mercer, 2013). However, poor group dynamics can be a barrier to creative thought with problems including social loafing, authoritarian leadership where one individual dominates the others, and groupthink (a tendency to focus on internal consensus, rather than accept external criticism; Janis, cited in Littleton & Mercer,2013). Littleton and Mercer suggest that many of these difficulties can be overcome by the group generating ground rules for working together, since these ground rules create an appropriate discursive environment for interthinking and creativity (e.g. Figure 1).

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