To create something together. To produce in tandem.

Collaboration looks different in an online classroom. Face to face interactions can be noisy and messy. Online often misses that messiness. Messiness is a part of creation that we embrace in an art school. We almost expect it. Without that messiness, how do you know you are creating?

That is why collaboration in an online classroom needs to include more people than the instructor and the student. It is important to bring in others to develop a sort of psychic messiness that helps students build knowledge. Including all sorts of multimodal activity is essential. Videos, audio, discussion boards. But targeted discussion boards can be more effective. Pair students up and have them debate a point.

One of the most engaging teaching moments I ever had in person was a debate on local public art. I found my students more awake than they usually were in that evening class. Arguing a point of view got them het up! The same is possible in an online discussion board, but not if the whole class is arguing. Better to pair students and have them develop their arguments to present to the class later. They will build social presence and the cognitive presence will fall in line.

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