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Guidelines for working in groups

Skills developed while working in groups will help you throughout your studies and are transferrable skills valued by future employers.

  • A good team is a group willing to to plan and work together in order to complete a task or achieve a goal.
  • Members are willing to relate and communicate in different ways: face-to-face as a group, phone links, via email or other electronic communication or a combination of these.
  • Members take time to get to know the other members of the group.  Take time to talk about your background and swap addresses.  Build a good working relationship.

Establish a set of rules or requirements for the way to behave and interact with each other.

  • Have an agreed purpose and set achievable goals.
  • Get to know your task. Break it down into subtasks. Identify what parts can be done independently and what parts are interdependent.
  • You should have an agreed approach in terms of steps to be taken and a time line to show what tasks should be done. Organise dates/cut offs to ensure all aspects of the task are completed in a set time.

Plan a group/team meeting.

  • Set a time frame – start and finish on set times.
  • Prepare a plan for the meeting or agenda – this avoids group members deviating from the task.
  • Create a schedule of future meetings.

Planning a group assignment

What has to be done with your assignment? Work together to clarify assignment requirements with your group.

Answer questions to assist with planning your assignment (Beginning the group work process - questions to ask your group).

  • Roles – establish roles for group members (Organising a team and Assigning roles).
  • Divide the assignment into tasks and responsibilities for each team member (Group Work Task Manager).
  • Complete a plan.

Starting work on the group assignment

  1. As a group identify the key words in the task question.

 

  • Now answer the following questions as part of your preparation:
  1. What do we want to find out? 
  2. What is our purpose? 
  3. What are the key words and ideas of this task? 
  4. What do we need to do it?

 

  1. As a group, brainstorm (write down) everything you know about the assignment topic. 

 

  1. List any ideas you have about where you can find information on the topic.

 

  1. Make notes about any resources that would provide supporting evidence to improve your assignment response (you will discover these as part of the research).  For example photographs, graphs, tables, visual images etc. that will support and develop your points.

Yes you can!

You may need to communicate by email, through discussion boards, social media sites or wikis to name a few.

  • Working online can cause different challenges compared with face to face communication. As body language is not part of the communication medium, carefully construct responses. The intentions of words may be misunderstood if vague.

To succeed as an online group:

  • Set regular times to meet online.
  • Be mindful of what you write, especially in a forum setting.
  • Actively participate, plan and action tasks, just as you would in a face-to-face group.

 Revisit ground rules.

  • Re-set plans for sub-tasks of the assignment.
  • Check or set roles for group members.
  • All members must communicate regularly to rebuild rapport.
  • Seek advice. Organise a mentor such as a teacher if the group ceases to function.

Resources

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