This section provides you with general guidance in picking collaboration mechanisms to weave into your course. First, decide what kind of person–to–person interaction best furthers the objectives of your course. Then, implement this interaction in the form and technology appropriate for your situation.

8.2.1. Consider all the issues

To decide which collaboration mechanisms to incorporate into your course, answer each of the questions in this section. Each question helps you zero in on your specific requirements. Armed with these requirements, you can decide how to implement the needed capabilities. Do you really need a collaborative event?

Collaborative activities are too complex and expensive to use when a simple Web page would work just as well. The first question to ask yourself is "Do I really need a collaborative event?" If information is simple, you can just present it in a well-designed Web page. If all you need is interactivity, consider whether the computer can provide that interactivity. For any proposed collaborative activity, specify the essential roles of the instructor and learners. Which media do you really need?

Make a list of the media learners must use to communicate in collaborative events: text, voice, body language, static pictures, moving pictures, interactive drawings or computer programs, and so forth.

The choice of collaboration mechanisms limits the vocabulary of signs and signals ...

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