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Resource Round Up: Making Group Work Work

Multi-colored stick figures next to the letters "TEAM"

In preparation for the next “What the Research Tells Us” (spoiler alert- it will be on interaction), I wanted to take a moment to share some of the strategies I’m finding in a “Resource Round Up” on group work. Integrating meaningful student-student interactions in a course can help to support student satisfaction (Croxton, 2014), persistence (Travers, 2016), and learning (Sher, 2009). Group work can be a great way to incorporate meaningful student-student interactions in our course, but designing effective group work activities can be tricky. 

Here are some resources with helpful advice/strategies on implementing group work: 

  1. Why Group Assignments Are Worth Your Attention: If you’re thinking about group work, this resource is like a gold mine! Helen Graves, instructional designer for the Online Education Initiative, presents a 5 ½ minute video that breaks down the research on student-student interaction. She also shares some big picture concepts to effectively design group work activities. Don’t miss the group work module she has created and shared on Canvas Commons. To find it, search “Group Project Resources” in Canvas Commons. 
  2. Group Work: Using Cooperative Learning Groups Effectively: In this resource, Cynthia Brame and Rachel Biel from the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, highlight ways to create informal group learning activities with think-pair-shares, peer instruction, and jigsaws. Peer instruction is a great example of how to structure an activity so that student-student interaction propels student learning forward in meaningful ways. 
  3. Student-To-Student Interaction Online (Asynchronous): This piece by Maritez Apigo is a resource round-up in and of itself. Maritez provides examples of ways to use technology to foster collaborative activities. Technologies discussed include Flipgrid, Canvas Studio, Hypothesis, Adobe Spark, Padlet and more. 

Group work can be used to support student learning and interaction both for formative and summative assessments. By strategically planning for and integrating effective student-student interactions in our courses, we can help to support student learning and bring a sense of discovery to our courses.

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