Working in groups for class or for work can sometimes be difficult. Here are some useful tips when working in virtual groups:
- If possible, choose group members with similar schedules and who reside in the same time zone.
- Be proactive and begin setting the groundwork early.
- Take some time to learn about others in your group.
- Clarify expectations & align group roles and responsibilities with individual strengths and interests. (Examples: Organizer, Researcher, Recorder & Analyzer).
- Create a plan by identifying what project activities must be accomplished, in what order and by when.
- Choose a group leader who is comfortable with that role. Encourage team members to voice questions and concerns early on.
- Communication is key- establish clear guidelines around when, where and how your group will communicate. Create a comfortable forum to communicate through, even if it is not the online classroom setting (e.g. Dropbox, Skype, Google, Zoom, etc.)
- Tackle assignments early, giving yourself plenty of time to ask questions or make revisions, if needed.
- Schedule extra conference calls closer to project deadlines to address any last minute hiccups and tasks.
Tips if you are having trouble working in groups:
- Always be honest but respectful. If either the project or the group member is heading down a path you do not agree with, do not be afraid to speak up.
- Do not be afraid to talk to your professor and suggest mandatory peer evaluations.
- Provide regular group updates to track progress and mediate concerns.
More information can be found by going to: Sanders, J. (2019). 15 key communication skills for students: Tips for successfully navigating a debate. Teachers Matter, Vol. 42, 51.