CORAL: Collaborative Online Research And Learning
 

CORAL [Collaborative On-Line Research and Learning]


CORAL is a multidisciplinary model for the integration of technology with collaborative teaching and learning (e.g., Chamberlin, 2000; Treadwell, 1999; Treadwell, Leach, Kellar, Lewis & Mittan, 1998). Over the past decade, technology has moved out of the computer lab and into the classroom as a basic fundamental tool for fostering student creativity and project-based collaborative learning.  The CORAL platform is an effort to rethink the role of the professor in the 21st century classroom pursuing  ‘project based’ collaborative learning in a way that gives students more ownership in the process and mirroring the complexities found in modern complex organizations. In brief, this is an active problem-centered approach to collaborative teaching, research, and learning, fusing the two related approaches (Deal, 2009).  

Currently, faculty members from the Departments of Psychology (College of Arts & Science) and Management (College of Business) at West Chester University of Pennsylvania have implemented the CORAL platform to focus on the management and evaluation of high performance teams.  An emphasis is placed on the facilitation of intra-team collaboration and identification of the managerial practices that lead to synergy and enhanced team performance.

The CORAL pedagogy fosters the development of skills in using computer and video-technology as tools to enhance effective collaboration in college courses. The CORAL model cultivates four major objectives:

  1. Integrates several different teaching and learning styles, thereby providing a more inclusive learning format.
  2. Structured by the professors, but led by the students fostering independent thinking and active learning,
  3. Promoting interdependence by having students share the division of labor by formulating roles and tasks that compel students to reach consensus.
  4. Fosters the distinction between Collaborative and Cooperative learning as an indispensable preliminary step when designing an operational collaborative learning and workplace environment!

Within this framework students are encouraged to seek outside opinions without fear of being criticized.