Someone said ‘Two heads are better than one’. They knew what they were talking because if you take anything, it always helps to take some advice or an opposing opinion. Research shows that students learn better when they have the opportunity to collaborate. With collaboration, group members not only learn from their individual efforts but also from others.
Check out these guidelines to prevent your group work from becoming a disaster:
Bond with your Team Members
The earlier you bond with your team members the better it would be for your project. If you start off late, it can cause unwanted delays. Here are some tips to create an effective group bonding:
- Create a forum or an online group where all members can gather.
- Ask everybody to introduce themselves, post pictures, share their hobbies, and interests.
- Post course related topics and discuss your assignments on the forum.
- Create a sense of community online so learners know they are a part of group.
Develop a Communications Plan
It is important that you have some defined ways of communication before you begin your project. Many communication tools such as Skype, Google Docs, Drop Box, and Gmail can help you communicate effectively.
- Skype is a great alternative for face-to-face group discussions.
- Google Docs can help with collective work and editing your project.
- Dropbox gives you a central location to share files, photos, and videos.
- Gmail will convert your emails in easy-to-follow threaded conversations.
Outline the Work Required
Clearly write down the instructions and objectives of your assignment in bullet points. Once every group member knows the objective, start preparing the work outline. Once the major tasks are identified, ask group members to voluntarily pick up the task that they can perform best. Make sure there’s no overlap in the tasks, and each task is clearly divided.
Decide on the Deadlines
Once everybody knows their assigned tasks, the next step is to decide the deadline for each task. Deadlines need to be realistic and should be decided in a group, so no one faces a problem later on. Deadlines are a tricky part and make sure everybody’s input is taken.
Review the tasks regularly and keep checking progress
Keep weekly or bi-weekly meetings with your group members to see how well everybody is progressing. Discuss any problems and issues. Make sure everybody knows the deadline and there is ample time to make final changes and finishing touches to your project.
Remember, no man is an island. Group projects succeed when all members get together and create synergy. If you follow the step by step process of collaboration and management in online programs, your project is likely to stand out from others and be a success.