Group Work in Your Course

You may be considering adding a group assignment to your course. In some courses, group work makes a lot of sense. It provides the opportunity for students to collaborate, learn from one another, develop an understanding of group roles and communication, and much more! That being said, group work might not necessarily add to or support the learning outcomes in your course. Take some time to think about the purpose of group work and consider the questions below!

Group Work Considerations:

  • Ensure the group work aligns with the course’s learning objectives. What are students learning from the process of completing group work that helps them develop skills and knowledge to reach their learning objectives?
  • Consider the student body: Are they in different time zones? Will this impact their ability to connect? Are most working full-time? Working adults might have a much harder time with scheduling. 
  • Give thought to how groups should be set up. Should they be assigned, self-selected, or randomly selected? What type of real-world setting are you trying to simulate?
  • Encourage students to identify the roles they wish to take on in their group work. Consider providing them with a list of roles (Audio Editor, Interpreter, Interviewer, Note-Taker, Presenter, Quantitative Researcher, Researcher, Technologist, Video Editor).
  • Consider what the deliverable will be for the group work. Will groups submit wikis, blogs, presentations, papers, or other projects? Be sure to provide supplemental information and training for the type of delivery method you plan to use. Scaffold semester-long assignments. If there is a final group project, it’s helpful to set deliverables throughout the term to keep students on track and to provide feedback if they veer off course.
  • Determine how you will evaluate the group work. Consider triangulating the feedback; request self-evaluations and group evaluations in addition to your own evaluation of the students’ work.

Please review our Group Work Guide to consider all of the elements needed to build out successful group work projects.