AOI | Learning Innovations

Faculty Insider


Group Work Revisited

Group work is a key strategy which can be used to create engaging learning opportunities for students. It is often assumed that implementing group work into a course creates additional work on the behalf of the instructor. The truth is most course work lends itself naturally to group work. The rigor, teamwork, and decision-making skills which exist when students work together create an authenticity which cannot be denied and from which students benefit immeasurably. Subsequently, much is learned student-to-student, easing the workload of the instructor.

“In fact, the very ubiquity of groups makes them almost invisible, like the air we breathe and the sounds we hear. Yet, just as air and sound are central to our existence, groups as a form of personal and social organization play a vital and influential role (for good as well as ill) in affecting the course of our lives.”

—Fiona McDermott

In a previous Faculty Insider, we featured tips on how to seamlessly integrate group work into a course before, during, and after instruction. Group work can be simplified further with the integration of educational technologies.

Educational Technologies to Enrich Group Work

Here is a list of educational technology which can be implemented to help enhance group work both inside and outside of class.

Microsoft Teams

Cloud-based team collaboration software that is part of the Office 365 suite of applications. Teams is a great option for group projects as it offers messaging, calling, video meetings, and file sharing. All faculty and students have access to Teams.

Perusall

Interested in providing students a collaborative reading experience? Perusall is a free social learning platform for reading and annotating that aims to motivate students through active and collaborative reading. By working through readings together, students can share in the learning process, reduce feelings of frustration and isolation, and encourage meaningful interaction.

Padlet

An online virtual “bulletin” board where students and teachers can collaborate, reflect, share links and pictures, in a secure location. Padlet allows users to create a hidden wall with a custom URL. Use Padlet for group brainstorming in class. Padlet works well in large-enrollment courses as it allows for efficient interaction and idea-sharing.

VoiceThread

A collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways—using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). VoiceThread is a robust choice for group presentations and peer reviews.

Review additional information on VoiceThread in a previous Faculty Insider.

Resources and Further Readings

This series of videos and teaching tips is presented by Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI). We invite you to join the conversation. Share your tips and ask questions through this blog. If you would like these posts to be sent directly to your email each week, subscribe to the listserv by emailing aoi.li@wsu.edu.

For more information or to schedule time with an instructional designer or emerging technologist, contact aoi.li@wsu.edu or request training on demand. You can also visit the Spark Faculty Innovation Studio in room 102 any time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, during the academic year.