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Library Guides

Guide to Library and Archive Services During COVID-19: Online Group Study

Welcome to Online Group Work

Group work during the social distancing of a pandemic may seem hard. You may be worried about collaborating with your peers without face-to-face contact. This guide helps you providing tools and tips to complete group work safely and effectively, online, from a distance. 

Workshops: Previous workshop (held on 18/11/20): recording | slides   Next workshop: to be arranged

Group Work Tips

To begin with, consider that online teamwork is always teamwork. Check the general guidance on teamwork which, among other things, discusses these tips: 

  • Clarify roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
  • Set clear goals
  • Communicate with each other
  • Make decisions together
  • Build trust and get to know each other better
  • Celebrate differences/diversity
  • Reflect on the teamwork process

Online Group Work Key Considerations

Key point to consider when working online with your group.

  1. Which communication channels will suit everyone in the group?
  2. What online space is most accessible and reliable for your group in your context?
  3. Which tools are best suited to your subject area?
  4. How easily can you access these via mobile and other devices?
  5. What will you have to produce for the assessment?
  6. How will you evidence peer contribution?
  7. Where will you gather reflections during and post project?

This guide provides options for the group to decide on the above.

Communication

Communication technology can provide valuable personal contact to keep your group moving positively and overcome that feeling of isolation.

  • Create WhatsApp group and Email.
  • Connect on Social Media
  • Microsoft Teams - A shared workspace, letting you work from anywhere, chat with your team, and collaborate on files. 
  • Google Hangouts / Google Meet -  Make video or voice calls with one person or a group
  • Skype - Free calls, messaging and instant online meetings
  • Zoom - Video and Audio conferencing, chat, and webinars 
  • Evernote - Minute taking, prioritize ideas, projects. and to-do lists
  • Otter.ai - Creates transcripts from meetings

Please note: With the exception of Google Hangouts, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, the above mentioned apps are not supported by the University.

Hold Effective Meetings

1. Before a meeting

  • plan the meeting carefully: who, what, when, where, why, and how many
  • prepare and send out an agenda, identifying issues to be discussed
  • consider time zones 

2. During the meeting

  • Introductions of group members
  • Planning - Purpose, goal, approach, breakdown task, resources, assigned to and set clear time limits.
  • clearly define roles
  • review action items from previous meeting
  • focus on one issue at a time
  • meetings can be for the whole group or between 2 or 3 members who are working on a specific part together. 

3. After the meeting

  • record final decisions or actions to be taken
  • assign tasks to group members
  • set deadlines for the tasks
  • set the date of the next meeting and develop a preliminary agenda
  • evaluate the meeting, get feedback from your group
  • note taking and distribute to members who couldn't attend

Designate Roles and Tasks

If you feel like your group could benefit from some structure, you might want to assign roles to each individual: these help clarify what everyone is responsible for.

Facilitator - The facilitator organizes the meeting, sets the agenda and makes sure everyone’s voice is heard. 

Note taker - The note taker is responsible for posting the notes somewhere the group members can access at any time. 

Timekeeper - The timekeeper is responsible for making sure everything happens according to the schedule. This includes reminding everyone how much time is left in meetings, as well as the project as a whole, and what’s left to be done. 

Presenter - Presents the materials that are created by the group.

Progress checker - The progress chaser is responsible for making sure everyone stays on track. Follows up with group members to ensure that things move forward.

Mediator - Helps resolve conflicts where they arise, making decisions when necessary.

Scheduling

In order to manage the group project and tasks efficiently, scheduling helps to align the timeline, the scope and your resources for an upcoming project. 

  • Doodle Poll - Arrange meeting times 
  • Google Calendar - Linked to your Gmail. Smart scheduling for meetings.
  • Outlook Calendar - Linked to your Outlook mail.
  • Trello -  Collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in process.

Please note: With the exception of Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar, the above mentioned apps are not supported by the University

 

Project work

Having greater control over your project documents and as a group it is a good way to contribute, share and add ideas.

  • One Note - Microsoft OneNote is an online notebook that can be used to plan and track your project, collaborate on digital content and share content with your team. 
  • Asana - Bring your team’s goals, plans, tasks and files in one shared space.
  • Coggle - Brainstorm ideas and easily add and share between groups.
  • Miro - Online collaborative whiteboard platform. Helping teams stay aligned, maintain a constant feedback loop, and reduce time to market for new products and features.
  • Slack - Conversations are easy to follow - make calls, share files and connect with other apps.
  • ClickUp - ClickUp works for every type of team, so all teams can use the same app to plan, organize, and collaborate. Keep everyone in the project notified and up to date.

Please note: These are suggested online apps that can be used for your own preference but please be aware that, with the exception of OneNote, they are not supported by the University.

File Sharing

Online file sharing apps give team members the tools they need to work with others from any location, including from home and while travelling. Easy access availability for the entire group and everyone have the rights to add, edit and update current information.

  • One Drive - Share the files across devices with your team and can also have OneDrive personal cloud storage. Linked to your Outlook and Teams.
  • Google Drive - Store, share, and collaborate on files and folders from any mobile device, tablet, or computer. Ideal for collaborative writing/presentation projects. Linked to your Gmail account.
  • Google Suite - Documents can be smart edited and styling tools to help you easily format text and paragraphs. Linked to your Gmail account.
  • Drop Box - Bring your files and cloud content together with the tools your team wants to share. 

Please note: Drop Box is not supported by the University, so we suggest saving your work as backup on your own drive and not directly on to the app.

Presentations

Create interactive presentations to deliver effectively online that gets your group to engage and interact easily from a distance.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint - Create online presentations from scratch or a template. Add text, images, art, and videos.
  • Google Slides – Create online presentations and access online with your Uni Google account.
  • Canva – Create functional, flexible and creative assets.
  • Genially – Build mind maps, design interactive presentations and infographics to present to your group.

Please note: With the exception of Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint, the above mentioned apps are not supported by the University, so we suggest saving your work as backup on your own drive and not directly on to the apps.