Group assignments, projects and presentations are collaborative learning experiences that help to foster community and encourage a shared responsibility for academic achievement among students. Well-designed group activities challenge students to take a team approach to problem-solving, while maintaining individual accountability. Furthermore, these collaborative learning experiences expose students to diverse points-of-view, stimulate critical thinking and help students develop communication skills, among other benefits.
In remote learning, collaborative learning through group assignments can be facilitated asynchronously using online discussion forums in Moodle or synchronously using video conferencing tools like Webex or Zoom for breakout sessions. In addition, web-based collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams give you the flexibility to use a combination of both.
- Adopt a pedagogical approach to online collaborative learning
The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning’s (CATL) pedagogical approach to online collaborative learning experiences examines techniques to help you effectively adapt existing group assignments in your course for remote learning.
- Incorporate peer review
Peer review promotes student engagement, encourages self-reflection and helps students develop professional skills. Whether applied to group projects, where students may be asked to evaluate each member of their team, or individual assignments, the peer review process can help students strengthen oral and written communication skills and learn how to offer and receive constructive feedback. It is important to explain the rationale and process for peer review in your course, so that students have a clear understanding of your expectations and the skills they can develop by fully engaging in the process. It may be beneficial to review written feedback and listen to group feedback discussions to ensure students offer constructive assessments and provide additional guidance when necessary.