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Digital Essentials: Online group work

The importance of online group work

While on your learning journey at ECU, you will be required to work in a group. Group work is an important skill to develop as you will be required to use it in the workforce and throughout your life. Successful group work requires you to:

  • Understand the purpose of the project that you are collaborating on
  • Value the contributions of all group members
  • Recognise that results can only be achieved with persistence
  • Appoint a leader, or rotate the role, and
  • Meet your responsibilities.
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Group work requires both interpersonal and process management skills. Some of the skills you need to develop are:

 

Interpersonal skills

  • Building positive working relationships
  • Communicating effectively in meetings
  • Negotiating to agree on tasks and resolve conflicts
  • Accommodating people with different cultural backgrounds and work habits

 

Process management skills

  • Identifying group goals and dividing work
  • Planning and complying with meeting schedules and deadlines
  • Managing time to meet group expectations
  • Monitoring group processes and intervening to correct problems
  • Introduce yourself to your group, preferably within the first week of being allocated to it
  • Be accessible to your group by providing your contact details (as a minimum, your student email address, location and time zone)
  • Agree to a communication method, either the LMS discussion board, email, or another technology
  • Be aware and follow all timelines for completion
  • Take some time to get to know each of your group mates
  • Build a culture of mutual respect within your group
  • Listen to what each member has to say
  • Contribute to knowledge building, and
  • Monitor the group’s progress regularly against established timelines.

There are many technologies available that make it possible to work collaboratively with others. You can communicate with your group at different times (asynchronously, i.e. email or discussion boards) or in real time (synchronously, i.e. virtual classrooms or chat).

 There are a range of technologies available that can help you communicate:

  • LMS Discussion Board

These are a great way to ask questions, share ideas and get to know your group members (e.g. Blackboard Discussion Boards).

  • Virtual Classrooms

A great way to set up group meetings no matter where members of your group live (e.g. Blackboard Collaborate).

  • Messaging 

There are a variety of messaging apps available, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts which simplify communication with your class members.

  • File sharing

Sharing your files with others allows you to collaborate, and simultaneously edit and comment on a document. File sharing services such as OneDrive, Box, Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to share documents much easier than passing USB’s, sending emails, or even a hardcopy.

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