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. 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 discouraged, and may decline working in groups. In the online learning environments, with the elimination of physical presence, it is necessary to bring students simultaneously to collaborate on various activates of the course to enhance their engagement with each other, the content and the instructor. As technology plays a vital role in online environments, instructors need to develop strategies for students could help them in planning, collaborating and communicating, synchronously and asynchronously, effectively within a group.
Project management concepts could effectively be utilized to help in facilitating students' group work. This paper, introduces effective strategies that will help instructors in facilitating group work by providing tools that students could utilize to understand and define their roles in the group. Additionally, the paper will introduce practices in creating group work assignments, supporting students in groups and enhancing communication among students in online environments. The paper provides some 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 face-to-face and online courses.
Keywords: Group Work, Project Management, Collaboration, Online Learning, Technology, Virtual Teams, Instructional Design, Web 2.0, Wikis, Google Drive, Blogs, Assessment, Rubrics.
Hanna, D. (2013). Tools for Educators: Strategies and Ideas for Facilitating Online Group Work Using Project Management Principles. Proceedings from: The 5th International Conference on education and new Learning Technologies (EDULEARN13). Barcelona, Spain: IATED.