Jennifer's Mini-Course: Effectively Incorporating Group Work in an Online Course

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                                    Effectively Incorporating Group Work in an Online Course

Overview and Purpose

The purpose of this course is to help educators effectively and efficiently incorporate group work in their online course. Group work is a popular tool for assessment and collaboration in any type of classroom. There are many benefits to group work for students, including being able to work with one another to achieve a common goal. Group work prepares students for real world job experiences, as most employers use teams to achieve the company’s goals and policies.

Topics that will be covered:

  • Why is group work important?
  • What are the benefits of group work?
  • Why is group work needed in an online course?
  • How can group work be incorporated in an online course?

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Identify the importance of group work in an online setting and how it supports social and cognitive learning
  • Be able to effectively incorporate group work in an online course
  • Identify what it means to work in a group and how it can have positive outcomes for students

Needs Assessment

What is the nature of the problem/opportunity? This course will explore the advantages and disadvantages of groupwork to allow the learner to determine if this is something they want to incorporate in their course. Along with identifying the advantages and disadvantages we will also go over the importance of groupwork and how it plays a major role in a successful course and successful students. Groupwork is an essential part of any successful course, whether it is online or in person. This course will go over the importance of group work in an online course, and how to effectively incorporate it in your course.

Is it an instructional problem/opportunity - that is best addressed through teaching and learning? Yes, in order to fully understand the importance of groupwork and how to effectively incorporate it in an online classroom, it is best addressed through teaching and learning with a course like this.

Who are your learners and what characteristics might affect what is taught and how? The target audience for this course is instructors, current or future instructors. The topic of this mini course will help instructors who teach online or even those who teach in person. It will help them identify the need for groupwork and how to best incorporate it in their classroom.

Performance Objectives

From this course students will learn how to effectively incorporate group work in an online course, and why it is so important for the student development. Students will use what they learn throughout this course to create a group project that they can incorporate in their classroom. Each unit will cover essential information on group work and students will be responsible for using the information they have learned to develop their group work. At the end of the course students will share the group work they have come up with and how they would effectively use it in their classroom.

Unit 1: Defining what group work means and the importance of group work in an online course

  • Group work is not only important for face-to-face courses, but it is also important for online courses. Use the reading material given to identify the importance of group work in an online course and learn how to effectively incorporate group work in any online course. From this unit’s required text and material students will learn the benefits of group work.
  • Throughout this course you will be creating a group work assignment that you can use in your classroom. The final project can be presented using PowerPoint, Word, or as a video presentation. In your presentation you must have the group project objectives, how it is effectively using group work to achieve the courses' goals, and steps each person in the group is responsible for. Finally, you will need to have a grading system and rubric that the students can refer to when doing the assignment.
  • In this unit there will also be discussions for students to bounce ideas off one another and learn from their peers. At the end of this first unit give your top three ideas for what group work project you want to create.

Unit 2: Design Options for Group work in an online course

  • In this second unit we will focus on the different design options available for incorporating group work in your online course. There are many different methods, we will go over a few of them and students will determine which one would best fit their course.
  • This unit students will select a topic from their top three choices and expand on the importance of their choice and how it best fits their course. There should be a rough draft of the rubric and grading system you will use.

Unit 3: Facilitating Group Work

  • In this final unit students will use the required material to learn how to effectively incorporate group work in an online course.
  • We will also go over how to facilitate group work; this includes tracking group progress and performance, encouraging peer interaction, and providing feedback.
  • Students will use what they have learned to fully put together their group work project and determine the best and most effective way to use it in their course. Other students in this mini-course will give their feedback on your final project and some suggestions for improvement.

Curriculum Map

CurriculumMap Edited.jpg

Course Units

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Unit 1: Defining what group work means and the importance of group work in an online course

Brief Overview: What does group work look like in an educational setting? Why is it such an important portion of the learning process? Group work is an important means of instruction as it holds students accountable for their work on a topic and/or project. It also encourages students to work with one another to achieve a common goal and do it as best as possible. In this unit we will focus on the importance of group work and focus on the use of group work in an online course.

Unit 2: Design options for group work in an online course

Brief Overview: Now that we have established the importance of group work in an online course and how students can benefit from it, we are going to focus on the different design options available to incorporate group work in an online course. There are many different design methods available, we will be going over some of the most popular and important design options.

Unit 3: Facilitating Group Work

Brief Overview: In this unit we will discuss how, as educators, we can facilitate group work, specifically in an online course. As facilitators you will be responsible for tracking group progress, being aware of individual and group performance, encouraging peer interaction, and providing helpful and useful feedback.

Extended Resources

University, C. M. (n.d.). What are the benefits of group work? - eberly center - Carnegie Mellon University. What are the benefits of group work? - Eberly Center - Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/teach/instructionalstrategies/groupprojects/benefits.html#:~:text=Benefits%20for%20students&text=Properly%20structured%2C%20group%20projects%20can,understanding%20through%20discussion%20and%20explanation.