In “Social Dynamics of Online Learning: Pedagogical Imperatives and Practical Applications” the authors write that “Failure to address the social and relational dynamics within online courses may result in greater feelings of isolation among the distance learners, reduced levels of student satisfaction, peer academic performance, and ultimately increased attrition. … More often than not, most students wait for the professor to ‘do’ something that magically knits or binds them with others in meaningful ways.”
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Are you having trouble getting your online students to contribute equally to team projects? If so, perhaps you should try varying the membership of these teams because, according to a study by Brian Dineen (see reference below), doing so can reduce social loafing and improve online collaboration.