Communication & Participation – Managing Groups
Beyond encouraging individual participation, instructors who use group work in an online course must practice even more specialized teaching strategies. Here are some tips for managing groups in an online course:
- Choose the group size, activity duration, and team composition carefully to reflect both the learner group and the intended objectives of the activity.
- Set clear expectations for participation, criteria for assessment, and expected outcomes.
- Establish a clear timeline, schedule, and sequence of activities with specific deadlines.
- Offer a lower-stakes, warm-up type activity so that students can become accustomed to collaboration.
- Define the tasks clearly and consider either assigning or allowing students to choose the particular role they will play in the group.
- Monitor the activity, help students stay on task when necessary, encourage non-participants when necessary, and assess both individual and group participation.
- Create effective group discussions and manage instructor workload.