Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, instructors have endeavored to identify alternative assessments to engage their students online. Facilitating collaborative projects online is a
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online group work
Online Group Projects – Yikes! You can hear the moans and groans of students echoing through your computer monitors as you start the first week of your online course. The reasons for requiring a group project vary from one discipline to another, but there are educational and career motives for requiring group projects. Students will have an opportunity to develop team skills, improve communication skills, and leverage their own personal interests and experiences to contribute to a group project.
Shrinking budgets and increasing enrollments are putting online instructors in the position of teaching larger classes. Accommodating more students means rethinking how you teach your courses. Otherwise your workload can quickly become overwhelming.
Looking for a way to get your students to collaborate and think critically? Consider group quizzes, a technique that Ida Jones uses in her business law courses at California State University, Fresno.
Glenda Hernandez Baca, professor/coordinator of teacher education at Montgomery College, Takoma Park Campus, encourages the use of collaborative learning throughout online courses. In an interview with Online Classroom, she offered the following ideas for facilitating collaborative learning in group projects and in threaded discussions:
If you are looking for ways to facilitate collaboration among students, consider using a wiki—a website that contains pages that can be easily created and edited by multiple users. Several characteristics of Wikis make them excellent choices for projects that involve brainstorming and research and that require a final report, says Rhonda Ficek, director of instructional technology services at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
There are many reasons why students don’t like group work, and in the online classroom the list of reasons grows even longer as the asynchronous nature of online courses not only makes collaboration more difficult but almost counterintuitive.
Wiki technologies are being used by many instructors and students as an effective tool for a variety of collaborative projects, such as composing group papers, creating a rich knowledge base, managing projects efficiently, and forming virtual communities. The benefits of using wiki tools include ease of use and collaboration, good instructor control, and anytime/anywhere accessibility.
Utter the words “group project” and you’re likely to hear at least a few groans from your students. The reasons for their dislike of group work are many, but logistical difficulties of getting everyone together and lazy group members who don’t pull their own weight are two of the biggest complaints.
Are you having trouble getting your online students to contribute equally to team projects? If so, perhaps you should try varying the membership of these teams because, according to a study by Brian Dineen (see reference below), doing so can reduce social loafing and improve online collaboration.