Teamwork and collaboration are vital 21st century skills which every individual must possess. Students need to experience working in groups and collaborating with their peers from a young age itself. Today, group-based projects are responsible for a significant part of student learning. Moreover, as schools and colleges all over the world continually shift towards increasing digitization in the post-pandemic era through digital teaching and management tools such as school ERP, online teaching portals, attendance management system, smart classes and likewise, effective online student collaboration and group work will become even more essential. Group work can be challenging for a lot of students, especially the ones who are introverted or have trouble communicating their ideas effectively. Here are some tips for students to make their online group work more effective and a rewarding experience. So, without further ado, let’s dive in…
Connect with your Teammates-
Before you start working as a group, it is important for all the students to connect with each other and get to know their group members so that they all understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, expectations from the project and course as well as their likes and dislikes. Connecting with your teammates using online discussion boards and chat rooms is a lot more productive and easier than in a traditional offline setting as along with the flexibility to reach out to each other 24×7, students are less inhibited in a virtual environment and are more likely to share their opinions openly. Alternatively, students can reach out to individual group members over email or social media.
Knowing the Expectations-
Every Group member should be aware of the expectations of the project, important dates and deadlines, how to complete and submit it, how it will be graded and likewise. Educators should provide this information to the students at the time of commencement of the project itself in order to let the students know exactly what is expected of them and allow them to prepare themselves to give their best to the group project.
Division of Roles-
In order to get the best out of your group work, the members need to dedicate some time towards organizing the structure of the group and dividing the roles based on team members’ individual strengths and weaknesses. In this way, you can efficiently utilize the talent of each individual student in the best way possible. Spending time with your group members to assign roles and responsibilities also helps each student know exactly what they as well as their teammates are responsible for. This way if a team member needs some information or work related to a particular aspect of the group project, they can directly communicate with the member responsible for that part of the project. Moreover, sharing this information with your educators can also help them in grading your work in a better manner.
Time management is crucial while working on a group project. Group members should not only keep a track of their time which is being devoted to the project, but they should also keep in mind the schedule of other group members as well. Many individuals join online courses to save time, some of them even attend online classes while working, raising a family, or living in another part of the world with a different time zone. It is important for group members to understand each other and appreciate individual situations and take it all into account while assigning roles to various members in a group-based project.
Clear, correct and concise communication is key in order to make your group work successful. You should ensure that each group member knows the methods of communication and doesn’t shy away from communicating their opinions, ideas and problems faced by them, if any. Group members should know how to ask questions, project deadlines, should provide clear and prompt feedback and must know about any key information related to the group-based project. Most importantly, group members should try to keep their communication constructive and maintain a positive and thriving work environment in the group.
Online group-based projects provide an integral learning opportunity for the students. However, a lot of things should be kept in mind in order to make group-based projects a highly effective learning experience for the students. To that end, the ideas discussed here should be of great use.
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