Translate to multiple languages

Subscribe to my Email updates
Enjoy what you've read, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates

Monday, May 25, 2015

5 Steps to Take Before Starting Online Group Work

"Before starting a group project, online students should discuss group members' schedules and availability." according to Jordan Friedman - US News.

Photo: U.S. News & World Report

There are plenty of perks associated with doing group work in an online course, experts say.

Debbie Morrison, an instructional design consultant who works with California State University—Fullerton's online programs, says group work in online courses provides students with important virtual collaboration skills for the 21st-century workforce. In general, she adds, group assignments are beneficial because they create an environment that involves learning from peers and gaining additional perspectives on different subjects.

"It can expose a level of critical thinking," Morrison says.

But before students begin working on their online course group projects, experts say it's important to follow these steps.

1. Determine which platforms to use to communicate: 
E-learning consultant Patricia Delich says that as new technologies constantly emerge, it's up to online group members to decide which ones best serve their purpose.

Online learners might use Google Docs to collaboratively edit an assignment, for example, email to communicate on a regular basis and a communication service like Skype to hold a video conference. Delich recommends students test any tools beforehand.

Katy Katz of Houston, who completed a fully online MBA program in 2013 through Benedictine University in Illinois, says that when completing group projects in her online courses, she and her team members typically used​ ​a combination of Skype and a chat room​ within her class' learning management system to stay in touch throughout the day.

"That was a good way for our instructor to see that everyone was participating," says the 29-year-old. "Any planning we did – if there were going to be changes to meeting times – we would communicate in that chat area."

Source: U.S. News & World Report