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Group work is beneficial to both students and instructors, as highlighted in the article “What are the benefits of group work?” from the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University. But mention ‘group work’ in your class and someone is likely to grimace. It doesn’t have to be that way! Take a look at these excellent resources and ideas which will help you understand groups and will help you construct better group activities for your students.

Read the Growing Great Groups: Considerations for successful student partnerships and the Group Work Resources articles in the Academic Newsletter.

Great General Resources

Enhancing Experiences of Group Work – a resource kit from the University of Technology Sydney to help instructors manage and motivate student groups.

Tips for Using Group Work

10 Recommendations for Improving Group Work from Faculty Focus

Working in Teams – information (what is a team, the possible roles in a team), a few questions to reflect on your team experiences, and some team work tips (how to be productive and positive, how to resolve conflicts)

Group Work & Presentations for students from the University of Guelph – Includes tips for students on getting started, group success, dealing with conflict, presentation skills, managing nervousness, etc.

Working in Groups Toolkit from the University of British Columbia – tips, videos

How to Succeed in Group Work
– chapter 8 of ‘Essential Study Skills,’ by Tom Burns & Sandra Sinfield, Published Dec 2002, ISBN (Cased) 0-7619-4957-7 £40.00, ISBN (Paperback) 0-7619-4958 – “aims: to consider the role of group work in the academic environment – and to focus on developing group work skills” – explanations of the different parts of group work and tips for succeeding in group work – the boxed-in tips and questions could be adapted into reflections of the group work experience

Different Types of Groups/Group Work

Different Types of Group Work: Clearing Up the Confusion from Faculty Focus, Teaching Professor Blog – Clarifies collaborative learning, cooperative learning, problem-based learning (often known by its acronym, PBL) and team-based learning (also known by its initials TBL).

The Stages of Group Development

Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing: Understanding the Stages of Team Formation – includes leadership activities at different stages

Forming, storming, norming, performing in groups from Bruce W. Tuckman

Roles in Groups

Roles People Play in Groups by Ann Porteus from Stanford University – includes names of the roles, with descriptions

Roles in Groups: The many forms of leadership and participation from the Context Institute – includes names of the roles, with descriptions

Social Loafing (student(s) who don’t contribute)

Students Riding on Coattails during Group Work? Five Simple Ideas to Try from Faculty Focus

Group Contracts

Guidelines for Writing a Team Contract from The University of Arizona – Opens a Word document which includes a template

Assessing Groups/Group Work

How to Use a Rubric Without Stifling Creativity – sample rubric is for assessing contribution to group

Assessing Group Work from Carnegie Mellon
Grading Methods for Group Work table comparing various options for assessing group work

Methods for Assessing Group Work from University of Waterloo Centre for Teaching Excellence

Group-Related Activities

Guiding Group Work: Activities to maximize student learning from group projects by Chelsea Hicks, The University of Western Ontario – worksheets to create a group charter (or a group agreement) and to reflect on your group experience, plus some suggested phrasing to help you handle conflict within your group.


Group Work module from the Learning Portal

Dealing with Group Conflict information for students from the University of Guelph

Video Series from LearnHigher, Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
“Rob, Vikki, Shireen, Muzz and Delia have been randomly selected to work together to develop a presentation entitled ‘The barriers to learning’. It’s not an easy ride. The following 10 episodes show the journey, from their first meeting through to their impressions of the presentation and working together.”

Why Working Together Doesn’t Always Work “Surprising research on the results we get when we collaborate.” Published on July 11, 2014 by Ron Friedman, Ph.D. in Glue. Viewed online on Psychology Today.

Virtual Groups

Online Students Don't Have to Work Solo from Inside Higher Ed

Keep up the group work: collaborative learning when teaching remotely – examples of remote group work from the University of Technology Sydney

Tips for Participating in Group Work and Projects Online infographic for students from Drexel University

Tools for Group Work

Learn@Seneca Group information from Blackboard
The Learn@Seneca Groups Tool online module from the Teaching & Learning Centre contains information on setting up and managing groups in Learn@Seneca

Microsoft Teams
How to use Microsoft Teams for student groups projects (video)
Ace a group project in Microsoft Teams – tips for working together using Microsoft Teams to improve your group
30 Advanced Tips for Becoming a Microsoft Teams Power User

Zoom Breakout Rooms
How to use Breakout Rooms in Zoom (video)
Managing Breakout Rooms in Zoom
Pre-assigning Participants to Breakout Rooms in Zoom

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Groups
Breakout Groups in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra with the Ultra Experience (video)
Breakout Groups in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra information from Blackboard

Breakout rooms are coming soon to Microsoft Teams

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