Tips for Working in Virtual Groups

 

Working in groups for class or for work can sometimes be difficult. Here are some useful tips when working in virtual groups:

 

  1. If possible, choose group members with similar schedules and who reside in the same time zone.
  2. Be proactive and begin setting the groundwork early.
  3. Take some time to learn about others in your group.
  4. Clarify expectations & align group roles and responsibilities with individual strengths and interests. (Examples: Organizer, Researcher, Recorder & Analyzer).
  5. Create a plan by identifying what project activities must be accomplished, in what order and by when.
  6. Choose a group leader who is comfortable with that role. Encourage team members to voice questions and concerns early on.
  7. 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.)
  8. Tackle assignments early, giving yourself plenty of time to ask questions or make revisions, if needed.
  9. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Do not be afraid to talk to your professor and suggest mandatory peer evaluations.
  3. 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.

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