Recommendations for Instructors

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Methods of Good Practice

The list of suggestions below, resulting from the instructor and student surveys, provide methods of good practice for instructors planning to experiment with technology enhanced group projects. The results of our award program, in conjunction with the literature on group work, provide evidence of how task design, group process facilitation, and technology choice influence the success of the group project. The recommendations follow.

Be sure the task is worthy of collaborative group work

  • Consider the pedagogical challenge. Will a group add value to the task?
  • Specify how the group project aligns with the course learning objectives.

Design the task

  • Identify the types of interactions desired (student-student, student-instructor, student-content).
  • Identify the tasks students will need to complete.
  • Identify barriers students might face. Where have students had problems in the past?
  • Choose a technology tool that aligns with the interactions, tasks, and challenges.
  • Develop an assessment plan for the process as well as the assigned product.

Prepare students for collaboration

  • Communicate the rationale for group work, including why the challenge is worthy of collaborative group work and how the group project relates to course objectives.
  • Help your students understand what makes good collaboration.

Do regular assessments of process and product

  • Use milestones or check-ins to ensure groups are on the right track.
  • Provide students the opportunity to evaluate their group mates’ contribution to the group project.

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