Maximizing groups

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Information about Maximizing groups

Published on October 5, 2007

Author: RajS


Using Online Groups:  Using Online Groups Ann D. Murray School of Family Studies and Human Services Why I started using groups …:  Why I started using groups … Necessity is the mother of invention What I noticed when I started using groups ….:  What I noticed when I started using groups …. Students were more actively engaged with the content of the course. Students interacted more actively with each other. Students took more responsibility for their own learning. The products students turned in were of higher quality. I found out that I was doing “problem-based learning” … (Jones, 1996):  I found out that I was doing “problem-based learning” … (Jones, 1996) Students deal with authentic, real world problems or cases. Student collaborate in small groups to arrive at viable solutions. There is little direct instruction -- the instructor becomes a facilitator of learning. Students experience challenges with ill-structured problems that mirror those they will encounter as professionals. Key Features of Cooperative Learning (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001):  Key Features of Cooperative Learning (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001) Positive interdependence (students need input from each other to complete the project or task, e.g. jigsaw tasks) Promotive interaction (students support each other and help each other learn) Individual and group accountability (both individual work and group work are evaluated) Interpersonal and small group skills (students learn to communicate and jointly make decisions) Group processing (students reflect on team functioning to improve group performance) Research on Cooperative Learning (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001):  Research on Cooperative Learning (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001) Cooperative instructional strategies result in more learning by students than individual strategies Heterogenous groupings result in more learning than homogeneous groupings Small groups (2-4 students) are more effective than larger groups (5-7 students) Types of groups:  Types of groups Formal, long-term groups (meet weekly, produce group and individual products) Informal discussion groups (one-time online activities such as debates, pro and con discussions, compare and contrast discussions, helping quattros, etc.) Tips for online groups (Ko & Rossen, 2004):  Tips for online groups (Ko & Rossen, 2004) Assign students to heterogeneous groups Use online ice-breakers so that students get to know each other Use class time for group meetings Provide a structure and a framework for the group activities Give guidelines for group participation Assign roles to group members Tips for online groups (cont’d):  Tips for online groups (cont’d) Provide many avenues for communication (e.g. chat room, message board, email, file management area) Have a mix of group and individual activities with a substantial number, but less than the majority, of points based on group work Use small groups of 2-4 students Keep the composition of the groups the same throughout the semester Tips for online groups (cont’d again):  Tips for online groups (cont’d again) Supervise the groups to monitor participation and intervene if necessary Have groups discuss and agree to a set of expectations for group participation at the outset Have groups evaluate their functioning on a regular basis and encourage them to address problems Have students evaluate the contributions of other group members References:  References Jones, D. (1996). What Is PBL? Retrieved 4/15/06, from Ko, S., & Rossen, S. (2004). Teaching online: A practical guide. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001) Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Rhem, J. Problem-based learning: An introduction. Retrieved 4/15/06, from

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