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Collaborative Learning

Collaboration as an educational focus involves promoting interactions, shared decision-making, and collective knowledge construction amongst students and other academic staff, within and across disciplines. Collaboration and cocreation in education is crucial to developing and advancing knowledge and practices that benefit not only students, but the university as a whole (Zarandi, Soares and Alves, 2022).

Better Tomorrow: Collaborative 1

Students expect to actively collaborate and engage in discussions, both with their peers and academic staff, across various informal and formal settings.

Barriers: Students feel that with the exception of some more group focused supervisions, there is little opportunity to collaborate with their peers in the context of their course. The lack of opportunities centred on group work has made students feel like they are not properly equipped to work in teams and cooperate with each other while working towards a common goal.

Opportunities: Actively engage students in their educational journey, incorporate group projects into the curriculum and provide clear objectives, guidelines, and assessment criteria for projects to ensure students understand the expectations

Better Tomorrow: Collaborative 2

Students expect to have a more group oriented and social learning environment that does not promote unfettered competition and individualistic mind-sets.

Barriers: Some students feel that the university's environment and practices reinforces students' preexisting competitive and high achiever expectations.

Opportunities: Increase the inclusion of collaborative activities for students, not only within coursework, but also through social events such as communal study nights.

Better Tomorrow: Collaborative 3

Students hope for more enhanced collaborative communication tools, facilitating group and individual messaging options that enable them to interact with both their peers and academic staff.

Barriers: Students may hesitate to email their professors out of fear of inconveniencing them. According to some, if academic staff would have an 'available' status online, it would serve as a clear indication of their availability and make students feel more comfortable approaching them.

Opportunities: Consider using university supported tools that can enable collaborative communication among students and academic staff (eg., Teams, Moodle).

Better Tomorrow: Collaborative 4

Students hope to feel comfortable when talking with academics and be able to ask questions without the fear of being judged.

Barriers: Some students have struggled to ask questions or communicate freely with academic staff due to the fear of being seen as 'less intelligent' or criticised. The lack of more informal contact with some academic staff (i.e. most students only see their lecturers in formal lecturing situations) can also exacerbate the inability to engage in open conversation with them.

Opportunities: Organise informal events or social gatherings where students and academic staff can interact outside the classroom and enable online discussion opportunities where students can post/send questions, share ideas, and engage in discussions with academic staff.