Collaborative Learning

The Collaborative Learning track is a series of three workshops for Columbia instructors and graduate students exploring group learning activities and digital technologies that support them. Participants who attend all three sessions and complete related activities receive a letter from CTL certifying successful completion of the workshop track that can be referenced on c.v.s and other descriptions of pedagogical preparation.

Join Us

Visit the CTL Events Calendar to find upcoming workshops.


Current or future instructors interested in developing group learning assignments.

CTL Facilitators

Mark Phillipson

Program Description

Over the course of the track, participants draft a collaboration assignment, and select and set up a platform to support this assignment. This track’s activities include: interactive posting in wiki, blog, and Mediathread sandboxes, and drafting of a collaboration assignment. Participants who attend all three workshops and complete all track activities receive a letter from CTL certifying successful completion of the Collaborative Learning track.

Workshops in this track include:

Modes of Collaborative Learning
When and how does collaborative interaction engage students more deeply with what they’re learning? In this session, participants are introduced to some theory about peer interaction and learning, discuss rationales for and potential pitfalls of collaborative activities in higher ed classes, and look closely at models of group learning assignments at Columbia.

Mobilizing Collaborative Learning
Following up on our general discussion of collaborative learning, this workshop delves more deeply into the logistics of implementation. We focus on the affordances of digital environments supported at Columbia that encourage peer-to-peer engagement, such as Wikispaces, EdBlogs, and Mediathread. Participants may ask for hands-on assistance with setting up a collaborative assignment on a platform of their choosing so that it is ready to run with students or show to colleagues.

Assessing Collaborative Work
Assessing collaborative work is a challenge. How do you know who did what for a group assignment, and how do you measure different types of contributions? In this session participants discuss classroom techniques, assessment tools, and grading rubrics that can help instructors to fairly evaluate student work on collaborative projects.

Related Programs and Services

Innovative Teaching Summer Institute
Active Learning Institute


Email Mark Phillipson ( if you have any questions. 


I really enjoyed the hands on aspects of these workshops as they helped reinforce the concepts in a fun and collaborative fashion. I feel that I was able to get a lot out of the workshops and am looking forward to implementing techniques and platforms I learned about.

Thank you immensely – it was a wonderful experience and I am excited to bring all that I learned back with me to my department!

Very useful, I particularly like the group-based format, and the balances between talk and activities. The homework was also useful and well-integrated.