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"Riding high, riding low, no easy ride": a case study on students exploiting students in cooperative learning




Saunders, Sondra, author
Gloeckner, Gene W., advisor
Banning, James H., committee member
Quick, Don G., committee member
Coke, Pamela K., committee member

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This study analyzes the perspectives of post-secondary students’ exploitation in cooperative learning structured classes. The theoretical framework guiding this study examines student talk in and provides insight into how peer groups function and take advantage of others in cooperative learning situations. The purpose of this study addresses concerns about performance of group members’ use of free riding, kite-tailing, or piggybacking in cooperative learning. Effective strategies were introduced and presented from individual interviews that were tape recorded, transcribed, and content analyzed along with survey instruments, progress reports, student assessments and evaluations with 16 individuals beginning the study and 12 individuals completing the study. The results suggest that there is an increase in student accomplishment and student learning at a faster pace when cooperative learning is an integral part of group goals and individual accountability. Positive interdependence, face-to-face promotive interaction, individual and group accountability, interpersonal and small group skills, and group processing were evident in this case study. Dialoguing among members, learning the experiences and views of team members, developing friendships, respecting others’ ideas, sharing ideas, and implementing leadership skills were identified as essential elements in the success of a cooperative learning environment. Opportunities for allowing free riding, kite-tailing, or piggybacking were due to poor work management, poor monitoring, and poor evaluation of students’ performance in group work.


Covers not scanned.
Print version deaccessioned 2022.

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Group work in education -- Case studies
College students -- Case studies
Learning, Psychology of -- Case studies


Associated Publications