IT Connect
Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Promote Student Collaboration

When students work together they learn from one another and extend their interaction and learning outside of classroom. Busy schedules and commuting students often make group work difficult to coordinate. When properly applied, technology can eliminate these barriers to collaboration.

Common Goals

  • Provide a comfortable setting for student collaboration and cooperation.
  • Enable convenient collaboration from any place and at any time.
  • Archive meeting notes and student exchanges.
  • Provide students with experience and support in teamwork.
  • Help students learn from each other.


Options for promoting student collaboration are suggested below.

Electronic discussion

Email and a suite of other tools in this category can help you disseminate information widely and set up alternative forums for class discussions, extending the opportunity for students to exchange ideas outside the classroom. Students may continue small group discussions through a threaded newsgroup. Study groups and project teams can also coordinate their efforts online through email and online discussion groups. Mailman is the Web-based email list manager supported by UW Technology, and can help you set up and manage email lists for courses or other groups.

Catalyst ShareSpaces tool

Collaboration often requires a convenient place for documents and other files to be saved that all group members can access. With ShareSpaces, you can create a shared space in which to store group files, and give group members access to it. You can allow others to just view and download the files, or also give the group members permission to update the file.

Catalyst GoPost tool

GoPost allows you to create a Web-based discussion board where your students can compare notes, discuss assignments, post attachments, and work together online. Messages can be posted and read with any Web browser. You have control over who has access to the GoPost forum, and you can even allow students to use pseudonyms to make them feel more comfortable.

Planning considerations


A wiki is a Web site that can be viewed and easily edited by anyone with Internet access and a Web browser. They can be a very useful tool for student collaboration and cooperation. Not only can students easily collaborate on a project using a wiki, they can also easily make it public and invite experts in the field to react to their contribution.

Campus Resources

  • Learning Technologies Workshops – UW-IT offers workshops to help you use the tools and technologies you need to promote collaboration. Participation in these workshops are free for all UW instructors, employees, and students. Advance registration is required for some workshops.
  • Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) – CTL offers a variety of resources and services designed to promote effective teaching and learning. The center is open to all UW faculty and teaching assistants.