Online Group Work Margaret Spivey Hagerstown Community College Adapted from: “Twelve Ways to Better Team Building,” Belzer, Ellen, To Lead or Not To Lead,

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Online Group Work Margaret Spivey Hagerstown Community College Adapted from: Twelve Ways to Better Team Building, Belzer, Ellen, To Lead or Not To Lead, Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Development Studies, 1995. Slide 2 Successful Component Online group/team work will be a successful component to your online instruction. Everyone knows that when people cooperate on a project (without wasting energy on rivalry and competitiveness), they can create powerful results.[1] [1] Twelve Ways to Better Team Building, Belzer, Ellen, To Lead or Not To Lead, Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Development Studies, 1995, p6.1. Slide 3 Positive Experience More than likely, your goal for the online student is to participate in a positive experience. The following suggestions should be a consideration in developing your online course. Ellen J. Belzer in her article, Twelve Ways to Better Team Building, lists twelve steps for the development of teams. Using her suggestions, techniques have been incorporated that can be utilized online. Slide 4 One: Start with premeeting politicking Many online courses require an initial on- campus meeting, usually known as the course orientation. At this time, groups can be formed and getting-to-know-you exercises can be conducted. If the course is purely online, the instructor must take the initiative to choose members of the groups/teams. The instructor could create a list serve for each group and encourage the group members to do the same Slide 5 One: Start with premeeting politicking, cont. Getting-to-know-you exercise: Develop a one-week time frame to complete this task. Encourage members of the group to email each other and determine five facts about each person. The sixth fact should address the students motivation for participating in the course. This data should be sent to instructor for verification of this task completion. Slide 6 TWO: Map out a team mission Students should be supplied with the goal, and an outline of the project. Instructor should clearly outline the mission of the group/team work. Each team should understand completely the purpose of the assignment. The overall goal, as viewed by the instructor, of the project should be stated here. Slide 7 TWO: Map out a team mission, cont. The group/team members will be responsible for meeting the assigned goal. However, the members are totally responsible for the outcome, therefore, the actual goals may be altered during the time span of the course. Once the project is underway, the group/team members may possibly discover a new set of objectives and goals. Slide 8 THREE: Define roles Clearly identify each persons role within the group. This could be handled in a format similar to a resume. Each person could submit a resume to one another and a copy send to the instructor. The resume could help identify strengths of each individual. It will be up to the group/team members to determine each persons role. Slide 9 FOUR: Create a group identity Group/team members should decide among themselves on a name for their group. Formal or informal name, it doesnt really matter. Identification of the groups can then be used in any communication with the class. Slide 10 FIVE: Draw up a game plan. Establishing definite days of the week that the group will meet online is essential. Include in that plan a definite time of day. This will take any mystery out of what is expected. Sticking to this game plan will insure that each group member will understand what each has contributed to-date. Contributions from each member will enable the group to interact smoothly. A group/team feeling will evolve from this schedule. Slide 11 SIX: Use liberal doses of we and our. Continuing with the weekly collaborations will develop a team spirit. That team spirit should create a feeling of ownership by each team member. The instructor may ask the groups/teams to defend their findings; at that point in time, the instructor may prompt the teams to accept responsibility for the findings by using the words we and our. This language recognizes the efforts of everyone on the team as well as recognizes the idea that everyone has a stake in the outcome. Slide 12 SEVEN: Dont be a fact hog. If the students use email to communicate with one another, the list serve suggestion will automatically share all communications with everyone in the group/team. The instructor could be included in the list serve. Slide 13 EIGHT: Encourage networking. Frequent scheduled contact is needed to keep all informed of any changes in the development of the project. Slide 14 NINE: Encourage play time. Enormous amounts of knowledge can be shared during play time. If one feels that the pressure is off they are oftentimes open to new ideas. If this was a classroom situation, drinks and cookies could be brought in. How can you bring a sense of play time into the online course? Perhaps the sharing of online jokes could be considered. The instructor could be responsible for finding weekly Campus Humor, while the group/team members could bring humor into their list serves. There are many online puzzles or games that can be shared. Slide 15 TEN: Reinforce the team concept. It is the instructors role to praise the team if they have completed a task well. Individuals can also be praised, but that should be done outside of the team communication. Slide 16 ELEVEN: Use humor. Encouraging humorous dialogue within the groups/teams will aid to decrease stress and break tension. The team that laughs together Slide 17 TWELVE: Develop an open atmosphere. Establish the ground rules: Stress that all ideas are welcome Brainstorming is encouraged There are no wrong answers Encourage the groups/teams to make decisions by consensus rather than by vote. A positive atmosphere should be encouraged at all times.[1][1] [1] Twelve Ways to Better Team Building, Belzer, Ellen, To Lead or Not To Lead, Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Development Studies, 1995, p 6.1-6.4. [1]

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