Instructional Design- GROUPS
Groups provide a means of breaking the class down into smaller groups for online collaboration. Groups can be assigned for a variety of tasks- discussion, chat, group project work, study groups, etc.. Generally, group areas are private- accessible only by group members and the professor. In the Blackboard Groups area, each group can be granted access to email, chat, discussion and file sharing.
Things to Keep in Mind..
- Just as with face-to-face group work, it is vital that each member of a group has input, and every member of each group should have a sense of accountability
- Groups generally work best with 4-8 members
- It may be best, depending on how you are using groups, to assign the students to their groups in advance; more often than not, letting the students try to choose their own group turns chaotic quickly
- If you aren't using a course management system with pre-defined group areas, it can be time consuming to create separate discussion, chat, etc.. areas for each of your different groups
- Make sure that you are clear in designating what kinds of assignments and expectations are placed on the groups
- Groups can be very effectively used for students to meet online to do group project work, conduct small study sessions and chat effectively
- Groups are especially effective in very large classes, where all students participating in the same discussion, chat, etc.. would be too confusing
- When the groups are effectively used, especially in large classes, students can feel like they receive more individual attention than they would otherwise
- It can be a good idea to require your students to visit public chatrooms devoted to a particular relevant course topic; this way students can speak with others in the field and talk with experts