You are here:

Learning Together: Strategies for Supporting Collaborative Learning in Online Courses from a Universal Design for Learning Perspective

, University of Houston, United States ; , University of Louisville, United States

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Amsterdam, Netherlands Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


Collaborative learning involves synergistic efforts of students working together to reach a shared academic goal. Collaborative learning in the online environment (CoL) can contribute to meaningful, active learning and yield positive benefits to student achievement; however, designing and implementing CoL activities is challenging relating to distance barriers and varying student learning and communication preferences. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework addresses these challenges as part of curricular design by incorporating flexibility into the way CoL activities are structured and providing options for learners in how they engage with the activities and express themselves. A conceptual model is proposed that situates CoL within the UDL framework and illustrates how CoL is facilitated by supportive technologies. Examples in the areas of online discussions and peer teaching are explored.


Gronseth, S. & Bauder, D.K. (2018). Learning Together: Strategies for Supporting Collaborative Learning in Online Courses from a Universal Design for Learning Perspective. In T. Bastiaens, J. Van Braak, M. Brown, L. Cantoni, M. Castro, R. Christensen, G. Davidson-Shivers, K. DePryck, M. Ebner, M. Fominykh, C. Fulford, S. Hatzipanagos, G. Knezek, K. Kreijns, G. Marks, E. Sointu, E. Korsgaard Sorensen, J. Viteli, J. Voogt, P. Weber, E. Weippl & O. Zawacki-Richter (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 1068-1081). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 20, 2019 from .

View References & Citations Map


  1. Barkley, E.F., Major, C.H., & Cross, K.P. (2014). Collaborative learning techniques: A handbook for college faculty, 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  2. Black, R.D., Weinberg, L.A., & Brodwin, M.G. (2015). Universal Design for Learning and instruction: Perspectives of students with disabilities in higher education. Exceptionality Education International, 25(2), 1-26.
  3. Blackmore, S. (1999). The meme machine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Boyd, D. (2004). The characteristics of successful online students. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 18, 31-39.
  5. Cao, Y., Ajjan, H., & Hong, P. (2013). Using social media applications for educational outcomes in college teaching: A structural equation analysis. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 581-593.
  6. Clark, C., Strudler, N., & Grove, K. (2015). Comparing asynchronous and synchronous video vs. Text based discussions in an online teacher education course. Online Learning, 19(3), 48-69.
  7. Clarke, J. (1994). Pieces of the puzzle: The jigsaw method. In S. Sharan (Ed.), Handbook of cooperative learning methods (pp. 34-50). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
  8. Collis, B., & Nijhuis, G.G. (2000). The instructor as manager: Time and task. Internet and Higher Education, 3, 75-97.
  9. Dalelio, C. (2013). Student participation in online discussion boards in a higher education setting. International Journal on Elearning, 12(3), 249-271.
  10. Dalton, E., Gronseth, S., & Anderson, C. (2017). Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in higher education: Possibilities, pitfalls, & Practices. In P. Resta& S. Smith (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology& Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1501-1506). Austin, TX, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in
  11. Dennen, V.P. (2008). Looking for evidence of learning: Assessment and analysis methods for online discourse. Computers in Human Behavior, 24, 205-219.
  12. DeNoyelles, A., & Reyes-Foster, B. (2015). Using word clouds in online discussions to support critical thinking and engagement. Online Learning, 19(4), 13-24.
  13. Eid, M.I.M., & Al-Jabri, I.M. (2016). Social networking, knowledge sharing, and student learning: The case of university students. Computers& Education, 99, 14-27.
  14. Ferguson, R. (2011). Meaningful learning and creativity in virtual worlds. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 6(3), 169-178.
  15. Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. Internet& Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.
  16. Garrison, D.R., & Arbaugh, J.B. (2007). Researching the Community of Inquiry framework: Review, issues, and future directions. Internet and Higher Education, 10(3), 157-172.
  17. Goggins, S., & Xing, W. (2016). Building models explaining student participation behavior in asynchronous online discussion. Computers& Education, 94, 241-251.
  18. Gronseth, S., Dalton, E.M., Bauder, D.K., McPherson, S., Singh, A., & Viner, M. (2018). Engaging, accessible, and memorable: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) applications in online and blended higher education courses. In E. Langran& J. Borup (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology& Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 2080-2085).
  19. Gronseth, S., & Zhang, H. (2018). Advancing social presence, community, and cognition through online discussions. In Marmon, M. (Ed.), Enhancing social presence in online learning environments. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
  20. Hall, T.E., Meyer, A., & Rose, D.H. (2012). An introduction to Universal Design for Learning: Questions and answers. In T.E. Hall, A. Meyer, & D.H. Rose (Eds.), Universal Design for Learning in the classroom: Practical applications (pp. 1-8). New
  21. Harasim, L. (2000). Shift happens: Online education as a new paradigm in learning. Internet and Higher Education, 3, 41-61.
  22. Hew, K.F., Cheung, W.S., & Ng, C.S.L. (2010). Student contribution in asynchronous online discussion: A review of the research and empirical exploration. Instructional Science, 38(6), 571-606.
  23. Huang, H-T.D., & Hung, S-T.A. (2013). Exploring the utility of a video-based online EFL discussion forum. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(3), E90-E94.
  24. Huntington, H.E. (2013). Subversive memes: Internet memes as a form of virtual rhetoric. Selected Papers of Internet Research, 14, 1-4.
  25. Jaggers, S.S., & Xu, D. (2016). How do online course design features influence student performance? Computers& Education, 95, 270-284.
  26. Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T., & Smith, K. (2007). The state of cooperative learning in postsecondary and professional settings. Educational Psychology Review, 19(1), 15-29.
  27. Jonassen, D.H. (1995). Supporting communities of learners with technology: A vision for integrating technology with learning in schools. Educational Technology, 35, 60–63.
  28. Kali, Y., Levin-Peled, R., Dori, Y.J. (2009). The role of design-principles in designing courses that promote collaborative learning in higher-education. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(5), 1067-1078.
  29. Lapinski, S., Gravel, J.W., & Rose, D.H. (2012). Tools for practice: The Universal Design for Learning guidelines. In T.E. Hall, A. Meyer, & D.H. Rose (Eds.), Universal Design for Learning in the classroom: Practical applications (pp. 9-24). New York:
  30. Nokes-Malach, T.J., Richey, J.E., & Gadgil, S. (2015). When is it better to learn together? Insights from research on collaborative learning. Educational Psychology Review, 27(4), 645-656.
  31. Orvis, K.L., & Lassiter, A.L.R. (2007). Preface. In K.L. Orvis & A.L.R. Lassiter (Eds.), Computer-supported collaborative learning: Best practices and principles for instructors (pp. Vii-xii). Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing.
  32. Perlman, C., Weston, C., & Gisel, E. (2010). Enabling meaningful learning through Web-based instruction with occupational therapy students. Educational Technology Research& Development, 58, 191-210.
  33. Purnama, A.D (2017). Incorporating memes and Instagram to enhance student’s participation. Language and Language Teaching Journal, 20(1), 1-14.
  34. Reisetter, M., & Boris, G. (2004). What works: Student perceptions of effective elements in online learning. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 5(4), 277-291.
  35. Robey, R. (2017, March). How present are you? Best practices in improving social, teaching, and cognitive presence in online graduate education. Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference, 2017, 1770-1772.
  36. Rovai, A.P. (2007). Facilitating online discussions effectively. The Internet and Higher Education, 10(1), 77-88.
  37. Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1994). Computer support for knowledge-building communities. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3(3), 265-283.
  38. Slavin, R. (1997). Research on cooperative learning: Consensus and controversy. In D.A. Riordan, D.L. Street, & B.M. Roof (Eds.), Group learning: Applications in higher education (pp. 3-8). Harrisonburg, VA: Institute for Research on Higher
  39. Swan, K., Matthews, D., Bogle, L., Boles, E., & Day, S. (2012). Linking online course design and implementation to learning outcomes: A design experiment. Internet& Higher Education, 15(2), 81-88.
  40. Thomas, J. (2013). Exploring the use of asynchronous online discussion in healthcare education: A literature review. Computers& Education, 69, 199-215.
  41. Trust, T., Krutka, D.G., & Carpenter, J.P. (2016). “Together we are better”: Professional learning networks for teachers. Computers& Education, 102, 15-34.
  42. Veletsianos, G. (2012). Higher education scholars’ participation and practices on Twitter. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(4), 336-349.

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact