More hands make light work… right?
One would think that a difficult task split between a large number of people would get the job done, but it is easier said than done. This is especially prevalent in university assignments that require collaborative work, and with most classes taking the online approach when it comes to teaching, group work in online classes could be nothing short of a nightmare. However, online group work isn’t completely impossible, if one knows how to make it work. Read the following to learn the best practices for online group work!
1. Acknowledge your teammates’ effort and time
When working with groups in an online environment, it is crucial to note that not only are you dealing with all kinds of people with different personalities, but you are also working with people that possess their own silent challenges. Recognising their effort and time goes a long way, and will boost group morale.
2. Get to know your teammates as early as possible
Since you will be working with other students in online learning, there is a high chance you may not meet them at all throughout the semester. Hence, before any group project, reach out to your teammate and discuss each other’s expectations of the project, besides identifying individual strengths and shortcomings.
3. Decide which person is best suited for each task
To ensure a stellar online group work experience, the fundamental group work tip is to prioritise structure. See what everyone can bring to the table and assign each individual a role best suited for them and like clockwork, everything will eventually fall into place. Just be sure that the work is divided equally!
4. Create an outline for everybody to view and update their respective work progress
After settling the timeline and responsibilities for the project, be sure to keep each other in check! This is so much easier when there are multiple platforms like Google Doc that allows viewers to see real-time progress, so working with groups in an online environment can be tracked easily. Since big group projects usually take quite a long time to complete, you and your teammates could also compartmentalise the work and provide weekly updates.
5. Complete one week before the deadline for peer review
One of the best group work tips is to never burn the midnight oil before any deadline! Regardless of whether it is group work in online classes or not, changes will occur primarily when you have it peer reviewed (evaluated by one or more individuals equally competent in the same field). Thus, allow yourself ample time to refine everything comfortably before clicking ‘submit’.
6. Be understanding and forgiving when disruptions and challenges happen
It is important to note that this isn’t like secondary school. It’s a completely different ball game beyond university. Keep an open mind and be flexible when an unexpected obstacle happens. As long as everyone can discuss maturely and cooperate on getting a solution, this will be a boon to not just your grade but your future in working environments. If you can get past working with other students in online learning, you can definitely work well with your future colleagues.
These are some of the best practices for online group work and we hope you found them helpful. Browse our industry-focused and affordable online academic programmes at UNITAR International University.
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