Tips for Online Group Work
An online study group allows students from all over the world to conduct virtual meetings. More often than not, it is the online university website that offers students the opportunity to develop forums for various subjects. A group is created and moderated by one student who then monitors who can be a part of the group, and the different discussions that are occurring in the forum. This medium is extremely advantageous for students who are bound by time and cannot spend too much traveling and meeting everyone personally. But can virtual group study be as effective as real group study? Yes it can, if the following tips are adhered to.
As mentioned earlier, in order to benefit from online group study, you have to be an active member of any forum you join or create. Not only will you be exposed to a multitude of perspectives of different people from different parts of the world, you will also be able to offer your opinion and point of view on a subject. This will make the entire study session more interactive and thorough.
Seek other Proactive Students
Again, not only you, the other students who join the study group should be as proactive as you are. There are a lot of individuals who join study groups just to benefit from what is being discussed, but do not participate in any way. Such individuals should not be allowed to be parts of such groups because it is unfair to those who are really putting in an effort to make the process of combined study work.
Keep Discussion Groups Small
When a discussion group is overcrowded it becomes difficult to monitor ongoing discussions and dissuades students from participating in the group. As such, these groups should be limited to 4-6 committed individuals who regularly update discussions and keep the group active.
Meet Online Regularly
All group members should decide a specific time (considering all time zones) to meet online on specific days. This is so that discussions can occur simultaneously and time isn’t wasted waiting for an answer from the others. A lot of groups tend to meet on Skype or such messengers where conference calls can be easily made. Moreover, Facebook pages are also created to make this process simpler. Just ensure that every member is comfortable with whatever medium of communication you choose.
Define Member Roles in Group Meetings
Before you meet online ensure that every group member has been given specific material to prepare and provide inputs on so that you can have active and meaningful discussions. They should also be given a role to play. For instance, there should be one individual who will initiate group discussion, while another one will ensure that the discussion remains on track. Another individual should be responsible for keeping a record of the chat or the discussion and for recapping the discussion in the next online meeting.
These are some great tips that will ease the process of working in groups in online study. Remember that it is definitely more challenging to collaborate such a group and work effectively; but to be able to bring together different people from different parts of the world to communicate and study together at their convenience is also one of the biggest advantages of online learning. Use this medium well to make the most of it. Be prepared to meet people of all kinds. You will find that this is a highly enriching process.