Depending on the circumstances, a group exercise can be either a fun activity that goes smoothly or an endless exercise in mind-rending frustration. In the best of circumstances, you can meet with your group mates face to face to assign roles and plan out your activity. But in an online class, you may not have that luxury, which could make communication difficult. But before you run for the hills when any group project is mentioned, we’ve got five tips to help you get the most out of your online group work.
- Take the initiative. This is probably the most important thing you can do. Poor communication and uncertainty about who should do what can cause a heap of stress on you and everyone else in the group, which can be prevented if someone would step up and organize work flow and set expectations. This is especially true in an online classroom where communication isn’t as direct. If you untangle all of the potential knots at the beginning of the exercise then it will be a much better experience for everyone.
- Communicate clearly. A simple operating rule for everyone in a group should be to keep everyone updated on their progress with their assigned work. Regardless of your role in the group, you should always let your group mates know when you’ve submitted your work or if you’re going to be late. It’s especially important to do this in an online classroom as there’s always a little bit of uncertainty about who the other people are and what they’re doing.
- Be patient. Everyone takes online classes for different reasons. Some may not enjoy leaving their homes while others are juggling work, school and taking care of their kids. That’s why it’s always important to be mindful of a person’s circumstances if they don’t report in for a group chat or if they’re a little late to submit an assignment. Just remember that we are all subject to having stuff happen to us that is out of our control, which is why it is just as likely that you could be the late one at some point.
- Be positive. Your attitude can have a huge impact on how everyone else in your group feels about the project. If you’re overly critical or negative about someone else’s work, you could risk isolating them from what the rest of the group is doing. This, in turn, creates more stress for you and everyone else and it makes the experience more unpleasant than it needs to be. Yet, if you take a more positive approach by praising people for their work and not complaining, you create an environment that your colleagues will want to participate in.
- Encourage participation. Many online group projects require some sort of discussion, which can be an excellent way to engage your classmates and help them feel as if their ideas are valued. You can do this by responding to their answers to more general questions or by asking them something different. Not only will this engage them in what’s going on in the classroom, but you may learn something from what they have to say.
Did you enjoy this article?