CORAL: Collaborative Online Research And Learning

Roles People Play in Teams


Feel free to create your own team roles. Teams do not have to use roles listed below.

Task-Oriented Roles

These are roles that address the group's task. Each has a characteristic strength(s) + and weakness(es) - !

Silent Contributor

  • Silent contributors are members who typically work behind the scenes using web board postings and online chats. They have good ideas, but usually have difficulty communicating them during video conferencing with other team members. However, they find it easier to communicate via web boards, online chats, and e-mails.
  • Examples of Silent Contributor Behaviors: Engages in a lot of online chats and web board postings, but does not speak up during video conferencing; contributes a good deal of work to papers/projects, but tends to be shy when presenting to the class.


  • Cooperative/Competitive members conform to the expectations and influences of other team members (do what they are told to do). They would rather have jobs/tasks delegated to themselves than work collaboratively. They feel more comfortable in traditional learning settings where they are told what to do (by their professors).
  • Examples of Cooperative/Competitive Behaviors: Often state "get the work done;" shows concern about getting a good grade, attempts to assign each person in the group a task to complete for paper/project, does not usually share personal information with other team members


  • Coordinators organize work on specific assignments; suggest deadlines and monitor progress; set agendas for team meetings; work according to plan.
  • Examples of Coordinator Behaviors: makes sure team deadlines are met, sets agendas for team meetings, makes sure team meeting time is spent efficiently by focusing on task at hand


  • Creators provide new and innovative ideas for the team; frequently suggest team strategies for accomplishing goals and completing assignments; and provide creative solutions to the team's problems.
  • Examples of Creator Behaviors: Suggests new and innovative ideas for the team, suggest team strategies for completing tasks, provides creative solutions for dealing with team problems

Maintenance Roles

These roles focus on how the group works together. Each has a characteristic strength and weakness!


  • Mediators concern themselves with working relationships; try not taking sides when conflict arises; try remaining objective when settling disputes among teammates; make efforts to resolve conflicts.
  • Examples of Mediator Behaviors: shows fairness in settling disputes; offers compromises and solutions.


  • Collaborators enjoy give and take relationships; take a team approach; work with other team members to complete assignments; focus on the big picture rather than getting caught up with specific details; provide input on assignments and accept input of other team members; comfortable in a group oriented classroom.
  • Examples of Collaborator Behaviors: offers and asks for input during video conferencing; includes all members of their group when working on papers/projects, frequently shares personal information with team members while still completing assignments/tasks on time .


  • Turn-around members generally seem confused or uninterested in collaboration at the start of the group, but later become an active participant.
  • Examples of Turn-Around Behaviors: Initially seems quiet and uninterested, but as group progresses becomes more active and collaborative during video conferencing/postings on the web board.

Non-Functional Roles

Roles that detract from the collaborative team’s efforts.


  • Manipulators act as team members and leaders, but use clever strategies to direct group members to work on their ideas, and seek credit.
  • Examples of Manipulator Behaviors: Shows cleverness during video conferencing in steering discussion toward his or her own goals and ideas, often seeks credit, may or may not dominate video conferences.


  • Blockers are not interested in the class and/or working collaboratively with others; disagree with the way things are being carried out by the team, but do not offer any alternative solutions.
  • Examples of Blocker Behaviors: inconsistent attendance in online chats with team; does not complete assignments/work on time; often disagrees with other teammates on how to proceed, but does not offer solutions/alternatives.