[Air-l] Listserv research

Alexander Kuskis alex.kuskis at netscape.ca
Sat Sep 23 16:23:06 PDT 2006

Yet, the reasons for it would be inappropriate to apply Tuckman to a
of online learners are as much as an assumption as it is to say Tuckman
would be appropriate. Are the differences between therapy groups and
of online learners proved? And in which ways? Furthermore, if
differences do
exists, are they relevant to the aspect(s) that is/are being studied?

------>I make no assumption either way. Tuckman's stages of group
formation might or might not be appropriate to online groups. (My own
experience and action research indicates that it is not). But before
stating that they are, the research needs to be done to prove it. You
don't just adopt a F2F group dynamic and apply it to online groups and
willy-nilly state that they're the same. Palloff & Pratt (1999) make no
claims for having based any of their assertions on research. By the time
they write 'Lessons from the Cyberspace Classroom' (2001), they state
that Tuckman's stages exist for online groups, but not in the order in
which Tuckman placed them. And in 'The Virtual Student' (2003) they drop
the matter of group formation entirely. But, if you want a model of
online group development that is specific to online courses and is based
on action research, I suggest the model of Dr. Gilly Salmon:
http://coe.sdsu.edu/eet/Articles/salmonmodel/index.htm . At some point,
I will publish my own research on this matter.
So to get back to the issue, what specifically do you think is the
in applying Tuckman to groups of online learners? Does it have something
do with the unconventional models they adopt at Fielding? What
do you think is the problem in framing group life in terms of
Have you ever thought that the discomfort with models of groups lies
the cultural bias we Westerners have against group and in favor of
Rosanna Tarsiero

--------->The problem is that the research needs to be done before
making claims of applicability to the online context. Tuckman has been
adopted uncritically for both F2F group formation, as well as online.
The words "forming, norming, storming, performing" have become a mantra
in all kinds of group dynamics literature (just plug them into Google,
and you'll see what I mean). But, whatever warrant there is for it F2F,
there is none online. I have no idea what models Palloff & Pratt adopt
at Fielding. And having taught university courses entirely online for
more than 5 years, employing collaborative and learning community
strategies, I have no discomfort whatsoever with group learning models.
I think that most online instructors recognize that the bias of online
learning is towards collaborative and group work, rather than the
individualism of classroom learning.........Alex Kuskis

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