What can Interaction Sequences Tell us about Collaboration Quality in Small Learning Groups?

Dorian Doberstein, Tobias Hecking, Ulrich Hoppe

One advantage of small group collaboration in online courses is that it can enrich the students learning experience with regard to interactional and social dimensions. In this paper we apply a previously tested method of sequential analysis on group activity sequences. These activity sequences stem from an online course on computer mediated communication where the group tasks consisted of collaborative text production. Students activities in a group forum and a shared wiki were recorded and classified as coordination, monitoring, major/minor contribution. Analyses of clusters of similar sequences show, that there are characteristic patterns indicating productivity, fair work distribution, as well as satisfaction with the group work. Our findings are a step towards automatic diagnosis of collaboration problems in online group work to facilitate early interventions.