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This paper describes a half semester long curricular and instructional design project focusing on the design and implementation of a collaborative strategy into a fully online graduate class in adult education. The purposeful group assignment and team building strategy, collectively called the collaborative strategy, represents an instructional approach designed to increase the effectiveness of online collaborative learning. In this context, students are strategically assigned to teams based on their study habits, and they participate in several team-building activities designed to maintain the collaborative learning. This paper presents critical design decisions made during the course development, the reasons for those decisions, failures in which the design did not work as planned, and a reflection on the design.