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Community Memory

Group Working in Online Learning

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Group Work: Video Reflections

Students will find a way to do group work, even online across time zones. They will be designing their own digital creations, organising via email, Skype, and similar applications, screen sharing and sharing films.

Assessments should be designed as much as possible so that they can align with what all the students are doing in their different contexts.

Group work raises the fears of letting the group down, and taking a lot of time. It’s important to set expectations of what is due and when.

If new technology is required, it’s very important to provide good guidance and not assume that all the students will have the required technical skills.

From the course notes:

Group work is something that many students worry about, don’t always enjoy or see the relevance of. However, group working is part of most types of employment, academic work included. Working cooperatively with people to create shared resources and meet deadlines is a life skill that is relevant for all professions and walks of life. When delivering online learning at scale, grouping students is both a practical and pragmatic way to ensure effective community and tutor support is being across the whole cohort.

Group working in online learning does bring some additional issues, particularly around multiple time zones and locations, group roles and responsibilities, and more. However, these aren’t insurmountable. Digital technologies make it much easier for learners to access collaborative spaces where group work can be constructed and shared. There are also an ever growing range of communication channels that learners can use to help them to informally keep in touch during any group working activity. Not everything needs to happen in the dedicated online platform for the course.

Five Basic Elements of Effective Teams

Five Basic Elements of Effective Teams

Five Basic Elements of Effective Teams. Image Credit: Rawia Inaim, via ‘Understand the principles of effective teamwork’. Licence: CC-BY-SA 4.0

Useful links for getting to grips with group work

(Main Image: Community Memory. Photo by Pheezy, via Flickr Licence: CC-BY-2.0)



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  1. Useful post. Thanks for sharing this informative post with us.

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