A recent article adds to our developing knowledge of how to more fully support the success of group assignments and projects. 6 Online Collaboration Tools and Strategies For Boosting Learning details six strategies and six tools that can head off the frustration that can be associated with group learning.
As this article details, the six strategies include: 1) defining the expectations and purpose of group learning activities early in the semester (such as in the syllabus), 2) providing explicit instructions and direction for assignments (such as objectives and due dates), 3) keeping groups small enough to ensure consistent participation, 4) monitoring to assess when intervention is appropriate, 5) defining “etiquette” and expectations for group norms, and 6) devising assignments and projects that directly relate to the course’s topic and include relevant real-life examples.
The six tools suggested in the article include: 1) ProofHub, 2) MindMeister, 3) Google Docs, 4) BigMarker, 5) SlideRocket, and 6) Skype. These online collaboration tools can enable students to communicate more effectively, brainstorm assignment-related ideas, and simultaneously contribute to and develop documents and presentations.