Group Work in Asynchronous Classes

Group Work in an Asynchronous Class

  1. Asynchronous classes can have successful group work activities by explaining the procedures in several places at several times.
    1. In the syllabus module of the class, create a page that describes the structure and sequence of the work flow.
      • Inform them of how many groups of how many people there will be.
      • How the groups will be formed.
      • If the students will stay in those groups for the entre class or if member will be rearranged for each new activity that requires group work.
      • What the role of each person is and if those roles will change during the activity.
  1. In asynchronous classes, each unit should end with a summary page of what the students learned in that weekly unit. Include brief reminders of the coming group work activity that will happen in the next unit.
  2. Re-post the group work instruction page at the top of the unit the activity will be in.
  3. Each unit should start with a page that explains the weekly work expectations. In that explanatory page, include reminders of the group work tasks each member must do.
  4. If the activity stretches over several weeks, the summary page at the end of each week should include reminders of what tasks each group member must do in the coming week.

Example:

A biology class will have peer monitored discussions on specific topics in Module 3-7. It will stretch over four weeks. Each student will have the chance to monitor one discussion. The class of 20 is divided into five groups of four students. The instructor will divide the students into their groups. The role of monitor will be rotated among the four students in each group. The monitor must create the discussion stimulus for that week and check for classmate participation.

The instructor does the following:

  1. Includes a Group Work Roles and Procedures paragraph in the syllabus.
  2. Reminds students of the coming group work activity in the summary page at the end of module 2.
  3. In the introductory page of unit 4, the instructor explains the roles and procedures for the first discussion.
  4. In the summary page of unit 4, the instructor includes a summary of how the discussion went and reminds students of the next week’s discussion topic.
  5. At the end of unit 7, the instructor includes a brief summary of all the discussion that happened in the preceding 4 weeks on the various topics.