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Navigating Group Work as an Online Learner
One of the most daunting tasks for students who are learning how to navigate an online education environment is the idea of group work. However, group work does not need to be scary or intimidating. In fact, group work is intended to inspire collaboration and encourage shared ideas, which should help to make projects and course work more accessible. Group members can also help answer questions on regular assignments. They can offer new perspectives and challenge assumptions, allowing for more critical thinking. Groups can also provide helpful feedback so that you can improve your own performance as well.
With all the benefits of group work, the question is how can students make the most of their group work experience? Here are a few tips that some CityU students claim helped to improve their online group work:
- Coordinate Schedules. Ask your classmates about their schedules and try to select groups based on those that align most closely with your own. This will help to minimize coordination conflicts.
- Peer Evaluations. Just as you would in a regular work environment, hold your classmates accountable for their work. Set deadlines for tasks and keep lines of communication open regarding project status. It also helps to include your professors in some of these communications.
- Understand Expectations. It’s important to know who is responsible for what and to understand the expectations of the project. If there are any questions, make sure that you ask them early and not wait until the last minute. If you and your teammates are unsure about something, reach out to your professor.
- Be flexible. While accountability and deadlines are important, we all know that life happens. Everyone has multiple priorities and sometimes an unexpected or unplanned life event happens that might interfere with our schedule. Clear communication is the key here. Talk to your teammates, and professor too if needed. Having these open lines of communication helps keep everyone in the loop and allows for the team to find a solution and/or adjust deadlines.
Ultimately, group work is teamwork, which is one of the most in-demand workplace skills. Group work helps prepare you for your future careers and adds an opportunity for students to develop their interpersonal communication skills, social intelligence, and project management skills. While group work is definitely challenging, it can be thought of as an opportunity for personal growth and as an opportunity to meet new people, which will help you to have a better online academic experience.
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