The Bystander’s Guide To a Collaborative RUA

Photo credit:majoriiumbusinesspress

And so I near the end of a second course on the COETAIL journey.

It is fair to say that this project provided me the greatest test I had faced on the COETAIL course so far; yet it also has to be said that it has provided me with the greatest reward – the finalised RUA that my group created. Another major difference which has made this project so tricky, and also so rewarding, is the group element i.e. having to work with other COETAIL students online to create something new.

A Big Thank You!

Firstly, I have to say a big ‘thanks’ to the other members of my team who I worked alongside for their incredible dilligence, hard work and creativity. Some of their ideas and thoughts were quite brilliant and allowed me to take more of a bystander’s role within the project. Now when I say bystander, what I actually mean is ‘less-involved participant’.

Less Involved Participant

Being a ‘less-involved participant’ is not something I openly embrace, but for me it is and has been a difficult mould to break out of; this is one of the reasons why I found this project so difficult to get to grips with. There are also a number of other reasons why I found this type of project much more difficult to complete than other projects I have been given on the COETAIL course.

Another major reason has to be the globally collaborative aspect. Jeff Utecht outlined a number of the reasons why global collaboration is a frustrating and difficult thing to achieve in a recent blog post. My own reasons also include many of the same ideas that Jeff wrote about in his post; other reasons that I could also include would be ‘not wanting to dominate the group’ or ‘Are my ideas actually any good?’

Ultimately though, I actually think that everyone has to have a role within any group activity and I genuinely feel that where there is a/are leader(s) there should also be a follower or followers. After all-one can’t exist without the other.

So I assumed my role within the group as we began our online correspondance. I soon realised that working in a group to achieve a centralised goal was a powerful tool when it worked as smoothly as it seemed to for our group of intrepid RUA pioneers.

The activity itself was an excellent way of uniting different teachers from different schools with different backgrounds. Using the RUA also helped to give us an achievable target that would give something back to our schools, colleagues and the online educational community. I have included our completed RUA below. Please take a look:

The purpose of the RUA

The purpose of the RUA is to provide the three schools involved (as well as any other schools interested) with an easy-to-use and child friendly primary/elementary school RUA. The RUA should also be easy for teachers, parents and children to understand and use in both their online life at school and at home.

The Top Ten!

Finally, this is my Top Ten (not in any particular order) of what I particularly liked and learned about the experience of being an online collaborator in a group of pioneering educators:

  1. Using a Google Doc to centralise our thoughts and ideas for the RUA was a great way to have a central repository for our thoughts and ideas.
  2. Shared email conversations brought a better understanding of what needed to be done.
  3. Learning about new APPs or programs like was great for educational understanding
  4. Working with people from very different schools with very different backgrounds helped me to expand my horizons.
  5. Making new connections opened up new paths to connect.
  6. Brainstorming, talking and working alongside the primary head of ICT at our school was an added bonus.
  7. Not having to do all the work on my own was a great burden reliever.
  8. Getting to test the effectiveness of different types of RUA (that had been suggested by different group members) on my own students before deciding on the final RUA was a great experience.
  9. Having my ideas (few though they may have been) acknowledged and recognised by the other members of our group was empowering.
  10. And most importantly-working with the members of my team Andria Visser, Anna Dawn, Palvinder Thurman and Kathy Burtscher was a terrific opportunity.

Overall, I can honestly say that it was a very rewarding experience and a task that every educator should have to do; if only to see the benefits that true global collaboration can bring.

5 thoughts on “The Bystander’s Guide To a Collaborative RUA

  1. Hi Neil,

    It is great to read your blog and see how you are expressing your limits and how you are working on them. I can totally empathize with you in the part you describe how sometimes we feel we have very little new /interesting to give back. Remember the video ¨Obvious to you. Amazing to others¨. – by Derek Sivers. We all have some creativity and ideas that can inspire other people and would be a shame not to share them.

    I have been working on a RUA/ RUP for secondary and it is a great vertical articulation exercise to see the differences and similarities between your work and ours (to be publlished soon so dont miss it @!!!

    I find a very powerful tool your reflection on your top ten, isn`t it amazing the different doors that collaboration can open?
    I love your implicit definition on collaboration: Share, learn, connect, brainstorm, acknowledge and recognition. That’s a great way to start making it happen!


  2. Neil, your post is awesome! I love the feeling I get from reading our group’s posts. I am so proud of what we achieved and so honoured to have been working with you all! Have a great well-deserved summer vacation! I hope that we can work together again soon.


  3. W00T! COETAIL strikes again….so glad we push you to do this project now…as we just continue to build from here. You get to know people you might have been “following” a little deeper even though you probably haven’t ever met them face to face. You can still build relationships within and through technology and you can complete a task with different people coming from different backgrounds and different needs. It really is a powerful project and your teams final project shows just how powerful this type of learning/collaboration can be.


  4. Hey Neil

    100% agree with educators making themselves part of global collaboration projects. if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk!

    We could have easily swapped our roles in this project. The most important thing was to get the job done and be happy with what we created. We didn’t let our egos get in the way and that’s the key to successful group work. If we had been on The Apprentice, we would have nailed it 😉



  5. Hey Neil,
    Like you I found the global part of a collaborative part a challenge. The easy part was working with David Garcia. We are at the same school and sat down to work on our Digital Learning Agreements together. As David mentioned above, there was great power from receiving feedback and comments from others outside our “bubble”. There input may have been limited but it was incredible useful in shaping our project. I agree with your top ten.


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