TECGW Resources for Faculty

Methods of Good Practice

picture of students collaborating

Research shows that the manner in which an instructor implements and facilitates a group project has a significant impact on the success of the group project. The Engage Adaptation Technology-Enhanced Collaborative Group Work Award combined collaborative technologies and research-based facilitation strategies with the goal of improving the experience students and instructors had with collaborative group work.

The list of suggestions below, resulting from the instructor and student surveys, provide methods of good practice for instructors planning to experiment with collaborative group projects. The results of the 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.

Ensure the task is worthy of collaborative group work

  • Consider the pedagogical challenge. Determine whether group work adds value to the task.
  • Specify how the group project aligns with the learning objectives of the course.

Design the task carefully

  • Identify the types of interactions desired (student-student, student-instructor, student-content).
  • Identify the tasks students will need to complete.
  • Identify the barriers students might face and/ or where they have struggled in the past.
  • Choose technology that aligns with the interactions, tasks, and challenges.

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 students understand what makes good collaboration.
  • Provide students tools to deal with team dynamics.
  • Provide students training on the technologies identified for the assignment.

Perform 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 members’ contributions to the project.
  • Grade the collaborative process used as well as the results of the collaboration.
  • Include group and individual performance in the final grade.