Establishing ground rules, roles, milestones for group work

Ground Rules: in the effort to create safe inclusive spaces for students to work together online, developing ground rules that are agreed on by the students and staff is a good starting point. These can either be provided by yourselves when you allocate group work tasks, or students could be asked to develop and agree on their own set of ground rules for their groups which they share with tutors once developed. Ground Rules could include:

  • basic start and stop times; showing mutual respect; listening to one another; being positive, constructive and encouraging of one another; allowing everyone to contribute; an even distribution of work; keeping to agreed deadlines; allocating roles to group members (see below); agreed levels of confidentiality

Group Work Roles: for some students group work can be a dreaded task where there is a lack of contribution from all members with some students bearing more responsibility, so it can help to allocate each group member with a specific role that they are accountable for. This can also be helpful when assessing individual contributions to group work. Roles could include:

  • ‘Group Leader’; ‘Meeting Chair/Facilitator’; ‘Time-Keeper’; ‘Attendance Keeper/ Secretary’; ‘Notetakers’; ‘Resource Uploaders’; ‘Task Manager/ Liaison’ etc

Milestones: for group work and peer learning activities that are overseen by staff, set weekly milestones for checking in with each group’s progress; breaking down the delivery of assignments into smaller deadlines spread out over the semester will help students stay on track

More resources on establishing ground rules, group member roles and group working processes.

A roadmap to group project working success.

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