Five Design Strategies for Online Group Collaboration

Designing group collaboration experiences for online courses that are effective, meaningful, and engaging requires planning and preparation. Course Design and Online Group Collaboration — What’s the Connection? outlines five course design strategies that can support students in achieving effective group collaboration. These strategies include:

  • Making projects relevant and challenging. Highlight the value, purpose, and real-world relevancy of projects and ensure they are complex enough to justify collaboration.
  • Providing clear and transparent instructions and expectations. Provide detailed instructions, including information on the purpose and benefits of a project.
  • Balancing the structure and flexibility of project tasks. Ensure roles and responsibilities of group members, as well as the parameters of the project, are clearly defined. Provide opportunities for student choice and control of project elements.
  • Planning the timing of group activities. Allow students time to build rapport and trust with their group members. Plan the timing of project elements in phases over the semester.
  • Providing suggestions for how groups can leverage technology. Provide suggestions for how to leverage collaboration, brainstorming, and online meeting technology to support collaboration.