I have been taking online classes since 2002. Almost every class has had a group work portion. This usually sends chills down my spine and I immediately start to dread having to try and work with someone "on-line." It has always been a painful experience. However, every once in a while there is a break through and something that used to painful turns into something great. That's what happened with my group in "Issues in Evolution."
How to make your on-line group "work"
1. Communicate with your group members as soon as possible. Start to come up with dates of when you as a group want your project done. Aim for about a week ahead of the posted due date.
2. A leader will emerge naturally. I was upfront about my time limitations with my group. I was expecting a baby and had been on again off again sick, so I knew I would need extra time to get the ball rolling. Luckily because I was upfront with my weaknesses one of my group members stepped and outlined a schedule for all of us to follow. Wow, that really made a difference!
3. Outline a schedule of when and what each person is going to do. Also, set dates of when you check and chat about the project online. Plan at least an hour for an online meet up.
4. Do your assigned work and have it done on time.
5. Come up with an easy to use online chat forum. We used Facebook because all of us had it and new how to use it. However, it does help if one person is especially talented at using the chat function.
6. Collaborate, really work together. Talk about each part of the project and give each other constructive criticism. Have an open mind and be willing to modify and alter your ideas. This will truly give you a dynamic and unique project.
7. Be respectful and help each other out.
8. If you have a question communicate with your professor often that way all group members are on the same page.
These steps are based on what my group did for our group project. It turned out great and I truly that all of us contributed equally. Also, it led to the development of two new great friendships for me!
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