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Collaborative learning refers to an instruction method which requires students to work together in small groups toward a common goal. In this issue of CDTL Brief, glean from the authors’ experience with Collaborative Learning and discover how it can be used to promote meaningful learning among university students.

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April 2004, Vol. 7, No. 4 Print Ready ArticlePrint-Ready
Using Online Forums as a Replacement for Face-to-Face Discussion Groups
George D. Bishop Gilles Doiron
Department of Social Work and Psychology
Principal Educational Technologist, CDTL
The development of technology introduces the possibility of using online discussion forums as part of the formal structure of modules. Traditionally at NUS, lectures for a module have been supplemented with face-to-face discussion groups, which over the years have increased dramatically in size. Continue reading

Weekly Review and Integration of Ideas and Abilities
Tara W Mohanan
Associate Professor
Department of English Language and Literature
Students are constantly bombarded in classrooms, textbooks and on the Web, with fragments of information, conclusions, beliefs and opinions. An important ingredient of becoming educated is the ability to figure out for oneself which of these assertions to accept as true or credible, and which ones to reject. Continue reading

Collaborative Learning: Some Issues and Recommendations
Dr Kevin S. Carlson Dr Zhao X.S., George
Former Educational Development Specialist, CDTL Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Collaborative learning has a long history in Educational Psychology and is increasingly being employed in a variety of contexts at NUS. Given this rising interest, we have decided to explore a few selected, central issues involved in such approaches. Continue reading

The Impact of Teaching Assistants on Students’ Learning Experience: A Study on Teaching and Learning in an NUS Chemistry Laboratory
Lau Wan Yung & Dr Alan K. Szeto
Department of Chemistry
It is no secret that effective teachers can make a significant impact on the students’ learning experience. The Department of Chemistry in NUS deploys postgraduate students as Teaching Assistants (TAs). These TAs are largely ‘laboratory demonstrators’, who assist the academic staff in demonstrating laboratory techniques to undergraduate students during practical (laboratory) classes. Continue reading

A Model of Collaborative Learning Project for Japanese University Students
Judith A. Johnson, Ed.D.
Yamaguchi University, Japan
In Japan, the growing awareness that collaborative learning promotes critical thinking and helps students develop social skills (Johnson & Johnson, 1986) plus the reduction in class size due to Japan’s declining birth-rate have spurred a handful of instructors at tertiary-level institutions to use the collaborative approach to learning. Continue reading