TOOLS FOR EDUCATORS: STRATEGIES AND IDEAS FOR FACILITATING ONLINE GROUP WORK USING PROJECT MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
Ryerson University (CANADA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Group work can be used as an effective tool to help students learn from each other, build community and engage with the course content. The key to the success of a group is in the planning and understanding of the purpose of the work needed. The Technology Enhanced Collaborative Group Work (TECGW) indicated through their research on group work that the way in which instructors facilitate a group project has a major impact on the success of the group (TECGW, n.d.). Many educators incorporate group work in their courses, but they may not provide the necessary support to students working in these groups; consequently, students get frustrated, complain and sometimes refuse to work in groups (Hicks, 2011). In the online learning environments, with the elimination of physical presence, it is imperative to bring students simultaneously to collaborate on various activates of the course (Palloff & Pratt, 2005) to enhance their engagement with each other, the content and the instructor.
Project management concepts could effectively be utilized to help in facilitating students' group work. Participants will learn about effective strategies that will help students to understand and define their roles in the group. Additionally, there will be an introduction about best practices in creating group work assignments, supporting students in groups and enhancing communication among students in online environments.
As technology plays a vital role in online environments, we will explore ways of planning, collaborating and communicating that instructors could utilize, synchronously and asynchronously, to help their students work effectively within a group. The presentation will cover best practices in using Web 2.0 tools that could facilitate the production of group work, and how these tools could facilitate learning among students working together on a face-to-face classroom and in online courses.
Given a sample weekly group assignment, the participants will work together in small groups to create a charter, assign roles, tasks and create a timeline based on data given.
By the end of this session participants will be able to:
1. List basic requirements for assignments designed for group projects
2. Identify best practices in communications among students
3. Apply basic project management concepts to facilitate group work among students
Keywords: Group Work, Collaboration, Online, Virtual teams, Instructional design, Project management, Web 2.0, wikis, Google Drive.