Collaboration and Networking in Education

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Please turn on JavaScript and try again. By continuing and using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. This initiative aims to respond to the requirements of a clear mandate from the European Commission allied with the provision of new cloud-based tools and services to enhance primary and secondary education in Europe. We are focusing on the context of secondary schools, often referred to as high schools, which provide secondary education between the ages of 11 and 19 depending on the country, after primary school and before higher education.

Interconnected, secure private clouds. Networks Services People. Whenever people or organizations come together, conflict is bound to surface. The most common challenges of collaborating revolve around cultural differences, finding common interests and goals, time, geographic constraints, and power differences present in the group.

Cultural differences are present across individual, disciplinary, and institutional boundaries. And the more that cultures differ, the more likely that barriers to communication, and ultimately collaboration, will develop Kelly, Schaan, and Joncas, Similarly, finding common interests or successfully negotiating common goals can also prove to be challenging. Time is a valuable resource that is often required to develop collaborative proposals, maintain communication, resolve conflicts, and complete shared projects or tasks. Similarly, the challenge of arranging face-to-face meetings because of geographic distance can make ongoing communication among collaborators difficult.

Projects may be carried out at different locations and finding the time to communicate and keep a long-distance collaboration moving forward can be a burden. If one party has more power to make decisions or is superior to another member in some relevant capacity, there are possible negative ramifications for the entire relationship. We have found four key elements common to successful collaborations: trust, communication, a sense of shared interests and goals, and defined and clear expectations and roles.

Trust is an unspoken but essential component of a successful collaboration Koza and Lewin ; Kelly, Schaan and Joncas This is true for collaborating institutions as well. Trust between partners must exist in order for the collaboration to flourish. Fortunately, a high level of pre-existing trust often exists between partners who have previously worked together, and many collaborations emerge from prior collaborations Cohen and Levinthal Moreover, the quality and frequency of communication is key to improving and maintaining trust between individuals or institutions Mohr and Spekman A sense of shared or common circumstances, interests, and goals is crucial for maintaining collaborations.

This is achieved by having 1 a shared vision, 2 clearly defined goals, 3 an agreed-upon mission and strategy, 4 all parties engaged in the decision-making process, and 5 the ability to compromise Bronstein Clear rules and expectations reduce the chance for conflict and help to move joint projects ahead. Finally, having defined rules, procedures, and expectations of members in the relationship help to define formally the boundaries of what each partner is or is not supposed to do Doz These also help clarify what each partner is expected to contribute to the relationship.

The Mellon Foundation and the twenty-three institutions that received FCE grants recognized the inherent benefits of collaboration. For this reason, the colleges participating in the FCE program developed a variety of interpersonal and inter-institutional collaboration opportunities for faculty.

These included:. The collaborative activities we describe above led to a variety of outcomes, both tangible and intangible. Faculty members and their institutions benefited in significant ways. Tangible outcomes included publications, new and revised courses, and curriculum enhancements.


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New professional networks and sometimes additional collaborations were further outcomes of the varied collaborative activities the FCE grant program stimulated. The opportunity to meet and work with people across disciplines and at other institutions helped participants to build relationships and professional networks that often continue beyond the life of the foundation grant. Some of these networks have led to more benefits than originally anticipated.

A prime example is a network of senior women scientists that has been continued and expanded by a half-million dollar grant from a federal government agency. The interinstitutional leadership development programs have also yielded positive results. We learned that department chair training has helped to broaden the perspective of chairs by helping them to understand the current challenges confronting higher education and their type of institution in particular.

This enlarged perspective helped chairs to focus on the welfare of their institution as well as their own department. The intangible benefits of collaborative faculty activities and programs are less visible and certainly more difficult to measure. However, they can be equally important to individual professors and their institutions. At numerous colleges we heard that enhanced community and collegiality were outcomes of the joint faculty programs the FCE grant program helped to initiate.

Collaborations can stimulate new initiatives and innovation by exposing faculty to new perspectives and introducing them to a new disciplinary or institutional culture. As we learned from this study, various forms of faculty collaboration can pull away blinders we do not even know we are wearing when we have few opportunities to interact or work closely with colleagues from different environments.

Assessing collaboration networks in educational research | Emerald Insight

Most important, we learned of renewed and reenergized faculty as we studied the impact of FCE-supported activities on many campuses. The learning, increased productivity, and enhanced collegial relationships that resulted from the varied collaborations we examined contributed substantially to these intangible, but very beneficial, outcomes.

However, as research on collaboration indicates, collaborating can be costly, time consuming, and frustrating for all involved if not properly designed and managed.


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We conclude with several lessons learned from our study of collaborative faculty development activities:. They used collaboration both interinstitutional and interindividual as a powerful tool to promote learning and professional growth. In the process, the colleges learned valuable lessons on how to collaborate effectively.

The insights they gained can help other colleges and universities that wish to support faculty at all stages of academic life. Working closely with colleagues to address shared concerns and to grow together is the hallmark of a vital academic community. Creating conditions that encourage faculty collaboration is an important way for higher education institutions to innovate and adapt in a time of rapid and continuous change.

Bronstein, L. A model for interdisciplinary collaboration. Social Work, 48 3 : — Chen, C. The effects of knowledge attribute, alliance characteristics, and absorptive capacity on knowledge transfer performance. R and D Management 34 3 : — Cohen, W. Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation.

Bibliographic Information

Administrative Science Quarterly 35 1 : — Doz, Y. The evolution of cooperation in strategic alliances: Initial conditions or learning processes?

Strategic Management Journal, 17 special issue : 55— Ebers, M. The formation of inter-organizational networks.

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New York: Oxford University Press. Farmakopoulou, N. What lies underneath? An inter-organizational analysis of collaboration between education and social work. British Journal of Social Work 32 8 : — Kelly, M. Schaan, and H. Managing alliance relationships: Key challenges in the early stages of collaboration. R and D Management 32 1 : 11— Koza, M. The co-evolution of strategic alliances. Organization Science 9 6 : — McCloughen, A. Interagency collaborative research projects: Illustrating potential problems, and finding solutions in the nursing literature. International Journal for Mental Health Nursing 15 3 : 71— Mohr, J.

Characteristics of partnership success: Partner attributes, communication behavior, and conflict resolution techniques.

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