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Group work

Group work usually involves groups of students formally working together on projects or assignment, though it may sometimes take place in formal classroom settings. When setting group work tasks, it can be useful to consider student availability, resources necessary, and expected outcomes.

 

Good practice guidelines for group work

Student Engagement and preparation:

  • Consider student ability to engage in group work. Group work may prove more difficult for some students.
  • Clarify expectations and learning outcomes of group work with you and your students. This enables student preparation and focus.
  • Consider your student's formal teaching timetable when deciding on the quantity of group work to include. Remember, the less free time your students have, the harder it will be for them to organise times when all group members are free.
  • Consider group size. The group size can contribute greatly to group dynamics. A smaller group may find it easier to gel, allowing for participation from more reserved students. However, a larger group may allow for greater synergies as it incorporates a greater range of strengths and perspectives. When planning group work, you can reflect on the size that will best suit your outcomes.

image of four crash test dummies working together to complete a puzzle

Group work facilities:

  • Ensure your students have access to facilities in which to conduct group work.
  • Consider whether your group work pre-supposes access to resources that may create difficulties for students. For example, will students need access to:
    • Library books that cannot be checked out by undergraduates,
    • An internet connection,
    • A colour printer?

Who may have difficulty engaging with group work?

  • Students with English as a second language may find it harder to engage in group discussions.
  • Students with significant external responsibilities (for example, those with young children), or those on placements, may find it difficult to ensure availability for group work outside of timetabled hours.
  • Students who lack confidence may find it difficult to contribute to group discussions.

 

Facilities

Consider whether your group work pre-supposes access to resources that may create difficulties for students. For example, will students need access to:

  • Library books that cannot be checked out by undergraduates,
  • An internet connection,
  • A colour printer?

 

College Facilities: This video highlights the need to consider College facilities when designing teaching and assessment including group work facilities.

Video length (2 minutes 12 seconds)


 

Consider whether your group work facilities are located within accessible rooms. If they are not, is there an alternative venue that can be used by groups if accessibility proves an issue?

 

Using Group Work as an Assessment Method

 

 


Last updated 22 September 2016 by Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (Email).