User:Vtaylor/Students' guide to group work

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Students' Guide to Group Work

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  2. Now you have some experience with working in groups, add your suggestions for group work to the Students' Guide to Group Work. Review the suggestions already here. Click on the [edit] link to the right of the 4. Students' Guide to Group Work. Add your suggestions for group work. Include your initials at the end of your entry. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Save page button.

List of student suggestions

  • add your suggestion and your initials --vt

Summer 2018

previous semesters contributions

I experienced that on-line group projects are more challenging than in-person group meetings. I would like to suggest that the groups must complete projects by presenting the results on time. It is also important to stay within the project topic and gather relevant information. I personally feel that the small group settings are easy to keep track of conversations.--CV

I have also found online group projects to be especially challenging, mainly due to the lag in response times between people which can be a day or more. When we are limited to just a forum without the use of phone, email or other additional types of communication the response times need to be much quicker along with more actual discussion about the project and all the various project aspects, even if it is to just ask a question. --DMV

I agree with the two posts above me. These projects are challenging because it is hard for everybody to check the discussion everyday, which causes confusion. - SD

Online group projects are challenging in the Catalyst Forum setting. Although each group is given its own forum, following the conversations seems difficult. It also seems like it would be difficult to come up with a final response as a group. Apparently in this class we are expected to come up with a response as a person, but I thought the traditional focus of group projects was to come up with a response as a group. I think it would be better if each group agreed to a time for an online chat to discuss the project. --DS

When working on online projects, set deadlines and try to help each other out. If you get stuck on some part of the project, be sure to seek help as soon as possible. Communication is key to group work, so check in with your group members regularly. For online group work, log chats and save emails. --AL

When deciding to do group work each group should have almost an even number of people. The first few groups had small numbers which is convenient on one hand, but very difficult at the same time if some of those people only contribute a thumbs up and then call it a day. Also it's extremely difficult to organize such a task when everyone is on different schedules and messagest take hours if not a day or two to be answered by everyone. Lastly I think the assigning of such a task was a little rushed when most people are trying to get situated into the class and deciding if they're going to stick it out or drop for various reasons. -CM

At the first it was too difficult for me to start but now I fell more comfortable with the online group work. I feel loss of pressure on the group work which is very good. I may suggest that each group has a certain number of students and then they can cooperate and communicate with each other more comfortable. I also would like to suggest that having “division of labor” for each group work to know better the way we’re working on projects. That would be helpful if students on each group can make online chat together, to talk about the group work to advance it efficiently. We can also do it by conference calls as well. --N.I

I think that online classes are very harder than classes are in campus. Because you have to always check what people are writing? When you don’t understand something it is hard to get a help. There is always delays responding to others and that makes the project late. Checking the discussions online daily bases will be much better. --CU

I have edited and advocated the use of wikis before, but it did not occur to me until this assignment that wikis could be used as a tool in the group projects. It would be nice to have a space devoted to one group that is solely the group's, that everyone can edit and participate at their leisure and in their own manner. For instance, if you are a spelling and grammar nazi, you can help proofread other people's submissions. Additionally, the teacher can check in and see how progress is going and provide help. The history would show the teacher who made the most contributions to the project. So, my suggestion would be to have a wiki for next quarter's group project. DKW

This is my first time working in the Catalyst environment and it proved challenging just trying to learn the navigation. (I'm used to the Foothill Global Access online environment) Coming into a new class and then having to get into groups to perform a group task can be challenging because you don't know the other members online course experience nor their "real world" working in a team experience. When a class calls for a group task I think it's crucial to make a plan in the beginning as a team. Who will be responsible for what? Do we know our instructors deadlines and what will we have as our groups deadlines? (In an online environment, everyone must participate - that is crucial for the completion of the task. It has to be a group effort and the difference in a traditional classroom versus the online environment - you can't hide. All will know who did and didn't participate.) Who will be in charge of keeping the group on task? Does everyone understand what is expected from them and when? I believe it would be helpful to have a "has your team thought of ..." sheet of questions that all team members should know and be able to answer prior to completing the task. GAG

In my opinion online group projects have it's pros and cons.

One of the positive things in online group projects is that you get to see everyone's points of view and ideas since it's a large group. Also the fact that there isn't a specific time when people can come up with ideas, we all have time to search and think about what we want to say and share.

The negatives of online group projects is the fact that you do not physically meet with the classmates and ask questions, give answers right away. Everyone having a different schedule and availability makes it hard for others to communicate with one another. Sometimes emergencies come up or having other priorities makes it much more difficult to keep in contact with your group.

I personally prefer having a physical group project rather than an online group project since it's much more difficult without the physical contact. AA

A lot of the above suggestions have noted several things in common in regards to the challenges of online group projects - tracking the contributions of others, the size of the groups posing problems, and keeping people on task, among other things. I think these are all very good observations. I think it's also very important to recognize that group work over the internet, while it should have the same goal of group work in the real world of accomplishing set tasks, is going to be very different from real world projects. Because of the immense freedom that people have in accessing the project over the internet, people may lack an urgency that would otherwise be present in the real world. These challenges could be overcome through willpower and rallying the troops, but it might also be worth it to reconsider how group work is done over the internet. Traditionally, in school, work is divided evenly and the credit is awarded to the group as a whole. Perhaps there can be different ways of teaching this style of work by awarding different levels of credit, comparing more involved students with each other and the less involved students with each other, or even using it as an exercise or educational lesson in leadership. The possibilities are endless. Also, Google is developing a new tool called Google Wave that may revolutionize how group projects are done in the future. ST

Online group work sounds more appeal because you can do it from the comfort of your own home but it also has a down side because you can't physically interact with the other people in your group. I suggest that a discussion is done often to keep up with the assignment and to find a way to break the ice so that others feel more comfortable. It is key to make sure everyone is participating but it is easy to get behind very quickly. RB

I would like to suggest weekly notification update email to show the group where we are and what we should work on, as the next step. --N.I

I think that keeping everyone informed and communicating well is the only way to be successful with an online group project. I think that there should be online chats at a time that everyone can agree on and an email that has sums up the important ideas that were discussed within the group that week. -KK

It helps to constantly check the group discussion on a daily basis, so no one gets behind on topic. In addition, contact through e-mail and instant messenger helps to replace real life contact. So that a group can function as efficiently online as in real life. --CU

My suggestions would be for the class to constantly stay on online chat during the entire time they are logged onto the online class. Students should also stay in contact by email or phone to do group project together and stay updated. AA

The fundamental principle is time management. Group members should always communicate and avoid any misunderstanding between one another. Agree upon the internal due dates of the individual work. Allow a few days to combine and wrap other each other's work. - YL

It is difficult to work as a group online. I believe online group work can be effective if all participant engage in the work. KM

I think a discussion page should be opened specifically for the group project one every two weeks from the starting date for group members to show each other their current status of their tasks. One or two in-person meetings two weeks before the due date would be nice too. --BH


Do your part and be responsible for your work. It is critical that you check on the groups' progress as often as you can. A one man team cannot be called a group.

  • Make sure that you do your best to get assigned with others that work as frequently as you. You do not want to hold back the faster ones.
  • Try your level best to contribute equally.
  • If possible, let your group know ahead of time if you will have any bumps along the way.
  • Plan a schedule with the other group members and stick to it.

Hopefully, at the end you would have had fun working with other students and have learned something valuable in the process.

  • punctuality - everyone has a crazy schedule of some sort but considering that we are in this class, we should consider it as part of our busy schedule. It's good to respond to your group at a reasonable time and be on top of the tasks with the group because sometimes your group is waiting to include you.
  • one benefit of having group work, incorporated within an online class, is that it allows the students to understand the subject matter from the perspective of his/her peers. Three or four heads are better than one. However, in any group work setting, communication is the key component to achieving successful results. We have the technology to communicate with our group members from anywhere in the world, so lets use it.
  • group work eliminates the need of meeting physically. I may sound silly, but believe me, in some of my online class, students decided to meet outside in library etc, which is totally inconvenient for many. Some don’t understand that this is online class and there shouldn’t be any need to meet outside. Meeting outside not only waste time, but also takes longer time to come to an agreement. I also totally agree that disciple is the key concept for any online work.
  • the most important thing when we do a discussion for online group work is the matter of time. We don't have much time, and how to make everyone anticipate in a discussion which is not a easy matter.
  • time is a huge concern with group work. It is essential that everyone in the group meets and discusses the topic on time so that we can have a concise answer. I totally understand that everyone is busy, hence why we are all taking online classes, so maybe the best thing for group work is not to have it at all in the online setting.
  • Since punctuality is a huge concern with online group work, utilizing the Catalyst chat functionality may be beneficial. Schedule a time with your group when everyone can come online and discuss the material. This will allow the discussion to flow like in class and would prevent the long delays that take away from the dynamics of a discussion.
  • be ready to work - At first I felt a bit overwhelmed with the work because the workload included many assignments and due dates which seemed like a lot. Now, heading into the fourth week I feel confident in knowing I can pass this class because I have been actively engaging in conversations with many of my classmates and checking the site daily. Consistency is key for online group work or any online class. Checking the website daily to respond to my online group or just to make sure your on top of things helps out a lot. In addition, I would also like to say motivation is a must because it's 6 weeks crammed full of information and assignments which is normally meant for a full 12 week class.
  • make sure to check the forums everyday to help stay on track. Group work is beneficial because it can make an online class feel more interactive rather than just reading the book and doing assignments. It makes the class a little harder to manage schedule wise, but as long as everyone does their part it isn't that bad.
  • really put yourself out there and not to think of the class as any less important or serious simply because it is online only. You should still contribute even more because you are missing out on so much without being in a classroom environment. I also think that you should really try and allow everyone in the class, and the instructor, to get to know you, because that will make working together easier and a lot more fun!
  • It should be better if the Group leader divides the works and other members picks the assignment by their own preference. Everyone should do their part on time, this is very necessary. We should often keep in touch with each other to update with all the works.
  • the most important things for group work is knowing who's in charge of what and being flexible but also punctual, depending on the task at hand. Working together can be difficult depending on the people, so having a good group to work with would consist of every person being responsible and ready to work.
  • Stay up to date and keep checking your email! Don't make the mistake of falling behind when everyone else is moving ahead of you. Since you can't meet anyone, there will be no one but yourself to remind you to stay on track. If you suddenly see a drop in emails or people begin to disappear from the topics you're on, you're falling behind.
  • I do not agree with the assumption that setting aside a time to chat is easier than posting to the forums. Con: Grant it, we all log in at different times and can not all talk at once. Pro: However, everyone has very different schedules, and makes it really hard to meet at a specified time in a chatroom.
  • an online class that meets electronically over a six week time-frame and has no other form of communication it is very inefficient to complete group assignments and tasks. In order to complete an assignment it will take much more time and energy to do it over the internet rather than if we had time to work at a physical location.

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