Educators, supervisors and mentors strive for the ‘eureka moment’, the moment when someone, “gets it”. As we move more of our lives into online interaction and collaboration, there has never been a more important time to ‘get it’ than now. Teamwork between humans has provided an advantage to groups and societies which profoundly affect their levels of achievement. Online collaboration opens avenues for people to leverage themselves. Those who fall behind will be disadvantaged. The theme of this paper is assisting the ‘eureka moment’ in a digital environment so that the power of online collaboration can successfully be unlocked. The collaborative power of Web 2.0 and the pervasiveness of the Digital World into all walks of life have increased the urgency for advancements in this area in order to capitalize on the rapid uptake of collaborative technology. How the revelation of core concepts, time, space, virtuality and trust, affects new participants in online collaboration is explored. There is also discussion on the impact of participant identity which requires a ‘persona’ to act as a lens in collaboration and how this leads to an ‘anonymity paradox’. The dynamic nature of virtual collaborative projects is also considered; in particular the impact on group leaders. The paper concludes that in order to unlock the power of online collaboration it is necessary to change focus from current solutions aimed at symptoms such as ‘rules and guidelines’ towards solutions addressing the underlying conceptual causes which result from the Internet’s virtual nature. Addressing these issues has the potential to profoundly change our thinking and will be beneficial to organizations and communities.
International Journal of Technology, Knowledge & Society . 2010, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p1-16. 16p. 1 Diagram, 1 Chart.