Checklist: Developing Effective Small Group Learning Activities

Group activities should be engaging and focus on higher order learning

  1. What aspects of the content lend themselves to group activities?
  2. How can the activity utilize the many experiences of students into making a higher quality product than working individually?
  3. How can the activity allow students to work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning?
  4. How can the activity allow students to search for understanding, solutions, or meanings, or creating a product?
  5. How does the activity meet a course objective? Do your learning objectives for the course including working as a team? Working collaboratively?
  6. What are the goals of the group activity?
  7. Is the activity too challenging for an individual to complete?

Group activities should facilitate learning community

  1. How can the activity allow for group discussion and resolution (if possible)?
  2. How can the activity be structured to ensure participation by all members?
  3. How can the activity provide an opportunity for students to develop a connection with each other?
  4. How does the activity promote peer teaching/learning?

Group activities require student support in self-management

  1. What activities will you include for students to build trust and cohesion (e.g., group charter, team pictures, team blog, etc.)?
  2. What is the timetable for completion?  Have you taken into account time dependent on the medium (discussion board, synchronous meetings, etc.)?
  3. Are the tasks scaffolded into manageable chunks? Is there frequent feedback opportunities?
  4. What technologies will be used?  (Asynchronous Discussions? Drop box? Locker? Synchronous Chat? Others?)

Group activities require individual and group accountability

  1. How will accountability be built into the process?
  2. Is individual and group performance assessed (e.g., peer evaluation, group grade on product)?
  3. Is reflection built into the activity (self-assessment)?

This content was adapted from Week 3 of Pivoting to Online Teaching: Research and Practitioner Perspectives and Module 2 of the Effective Online Teaching Short Course by J. T. Dellinger, and is used under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license. Modifications include adjusted text for UTA context.

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Teamwork: An Open Access Practical Guide - Instructor Companion by Andrew M. Clark and Justin T. Dellinger is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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