How can I create collaborative learning opportunities and facilitate group work?

Learning in groups can take place in many forms, from simple short in-class activities to semester-long projects. When teaching during a campus closure, instructors may want to consider simple replacements for in-class group activities, such as small group discussion forums. For semester-long projects, instructors and students can take full advantage of private group workspaces in Canvas, each with its own set of tools for group collaboration and communication.

Google at IU offers another powerful suite of tools for group collaboration. In addition to Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets, which are available via the Canvas Collaborations tool, collaborators can create drawings, custom Google maps, and entire web sites (via Google sites). Google’s collaborative tools are especially powerful in educational contexts because all changes are tracked, allowing instructors to easily evaluate the quality and quantity of contributions each student has made toward the final product.

Depending on their schedules and availability, some groups may choose to conduct live meetings for planning, decision making, and discussing and editing group work products. Groups can conduct online meetings in Zoom, IU’s web conferencing and collaboration platform, which is available to all IU students, faculty, and staff. For situations in which only simple text chat is needed, group members can use Canvas Chat or, when working in Google content, the chat tool embedded in Google documents.

When planning group activities, key considerations should include the expected time duration of the activity, types of resources needed to complete the activity, and the extent of expected communication among group members. As with in-class activities, communicating learning objectives and concrete goals will help students focus on the outcomes. However, in a classroom, instructors can circulate and provide live feedback on group progress. The way instructors check student progress will likely change if activities and deliverables, such as team presentations, occur outside the classroom. Instructors may consider using discussions to bring groups back together as a class, or they may use technology that allows groups to perform live or recorded presentations for the class.

Resources useful for managing collaborative learning or group activities:

Instructors can get help using technology in their teaching at the teaching and learning centers on each campus; see How do I contact the teaching and learning centers at each IU campus?

This is document azdo in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2017-09-11 16:19:14.

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