If you are an instructor for online courses, then this posting is for you. There are so many advantages to online courses that students enjoy, but one aspect of the course they may not particularly like is group work. Group work online can be a difficult and tedious task-one that many students may wish to avoid at all costs. But as instructors, you know that is not always possible and that group work can be an integral part of a good class. We have constructed an online group work “Survival Guide”, and would like to share a few tips and tricks for you to give your students next time they complete online group work!
- Get to know one another: share interests and details about one another to create a sense of community and target individual strengths. Also share contact information and schedules and time zones to best decide when to schedule online meetings.
- Appoint a leader for the group: Choose someone who will commit to keeping the group on track, oversee all work, facilitate decisions, keep the instructor up-to-date, etc.
- Divide responsibilities: Make choices based on the strengths, interests, and backgrounds of each group member. Make sure each member clearly knows their responsbilities.
- Discuss guidelines: This includes how you will communicate, how decisions will be made, timelines for completing the work and rules for missing milestones, how to deal with group members who don’t fully contribute, etc. Put these guidelines in writing so you can refer back to them when issues arise.
- Commit to communication: Decide as a group how to communicate and how often the communications will take place. The group may find it helpful to have a weekly schedule for working on the project and communicating with each other. See below for some communication options.
- Continuously review tasks and progress: Always keep up on deadlines and make sure others are staying on top of their tasks and responsibilities.
These tips are a great foundation for a successful online group project. Be sure to check out our post next week where we will discuss free web tools we have found that make group work online a breeze!