March 18, 2018
Is remote collaboration better than face-to-face collaboration?
I recently read this article that talked about 5 areas to focus on when using tech tools with students. These 5 areas were: collaborating, questioning, connecting, creating and wondering. The article made good points about ways in which students can develop theses skills, but they were solely beneficiary. No side effects or negatives were mentioned, and there can be some negatives in these areas, specifically with collaborating.
Under collaborating, the article talked about how students can collaborate on an assignment or document remotely. While I do find this to be a benefit, it does beg the question, Is remote collaboration better than face-to-face collaboration?
Personally, I see collaboration as working with someone else in real-time. The issue with remote collaboration is that each party does not have to be working on the file at the same time. With time differences and busy schedules, this is a benefit; but it can also be a negative.
When collaborating in real time- even on FaceTime or skype- there is a spontaneous conversation that can spark new ideas. You cannot get that same kind of spontaneity if one person works on the document and then a few hours later the other person works on the document. Another setback is clarification. When working with a group in person, you are able to explain your thought process for others to fully understand your idea. But if collaborating remotely, you may not be able to explain yourself so clearly. Yes you can leave comments or notes for others to read, but written explanation is not the same as verbal explanation. It falls in line with the thought process that people interpret emails and text messages differently than the way the sender intended. Combine this miscommunication with the fact that the collaborators could be working at different times, and it actually makes the collaboration more difficult than productive, which can waste time instead of saving time.
Remote collaboration is beneficial for those who are not able to meet face-to-face. But If there is an option to meet face-to-face, I personally believe that is how people should collaborate. Social Interaction is extremely important, especially nowadays with the increased presence of technology. And while technology connects people all over the world, it can also disconnect people locally. Remote collaboration should be an option, but I do not think it should be the only option for collaboration.
Here is the link to the article: