Just like in regular schools, some online colleges encourage group work among students. At best, this type of collaboration fosters the efficient sharing of ideas and knowledge. At worst, it may cause friction among the students. The tension may even cause fights and misunderstandings.
However, there are some ways to make group works truly productive and efficient. Here are some of them:
List down the objectives first
Defining the objectives is one important step that every group should not forego. These objectives must be clear and specific. When you have particular objectives in mind, it will be much easier for everyone to break down the tasks. More importantly, each member must work on a given task; a timetable is also necessary for tracking the project’s progress.
Have some rules
You have to face this truth: group discussions can sometimes get messy, and there are times these are monopolized by extroverted individuals. To avoid such needless dilemmas, it is essential that the group has a set of rules. For one, the group may agree to keep non-project-related discussions at bay. Or you can all agree that everyone should contribute at least three recommendations for the project to avoid the monopoly of ideas.
Because you’re attending an online college, communication may be tricky at times, so make sure that you have a plan for it. For instance, the group can agree to use a specific video chat application that facilitates smooth and fast conversations. Cloud-based applications, such as Google Suite, will also help in your collaboration. And if possible, you may want to meet personally at least once or twice within the duration of your project.
Always monitor the progress
As a group, members should discuss the progress in relation to the schedules and deadlines. That way, you will be able to see if the project is nearing its completion. Seeing the progress will also encourage the members to make some adjustments as much as possible.
Group work may make some students frown. But it has to be understood that collaborations help develop new skills, things that students can apply to real-life scenarios.