Teaching online guidebook

Group work

If students are doing group work in your topic, you will need to be aware of any limitations or restrictions that may apply for individual students, and adjust the activity accordingly. Be aware too that there may be cultural and lifestyle differences, as well as age and gender differences. Students may be anxious about group work, or not understand how to best work within this learning situation. They may also have differing agendas (some may want to get high grades, whilst others may just want to pass).

See some guidelines below for facilitating group work to ensure (as much as possible) that your students succeed.

Design for success

Think about how contributions will be assessed. Will students provide a reflection on their and others' contributions to the group? Will you assess this yourself by looking at the tools they have used (eg by monitoring student activity in FLO) or setting up the final product to indicate individual contributions (eg each student is responsible for a section of a report)?

Get advice from your local learning designer (eLearning support team) or an academic developer if you need to.

Provide support and resources

Be clear with students about what group work entails (expectations, outcomes, troubleshooting etc). Be active in the topic site so you can pick up on any problems, and intercept when necessary (check in). If you provide students with group work resources, make sure these are accessible by all students, no matter what their location.

Facilitate group communication

Guide students in how to work effectively using communication tools. A simple way for students to communicate with each other is via email (Topic links block > Participants – students will see who is in their group). Encourage students to initially work out how they will communicate, if you are providing flexibility around this, and encourage them to be sensitive to some students' limited means of communication.

Provide spaces where groups can communicate in FLO (especially in the event that preferred tools such as Facebook or Google Drive are are not accessible to some students). This might be:

Allow time

Students may have access or time issues, so try to keep the group work activity (especially if tied to assessment) flexible re dates and time allowed for creating a product/achieving outcomes.

How to