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Home » Faculty/Staff » Teaching Online » Using Groups

Using Groups

Bb groups not only make for a better class community, but can also reduce instructor workload and make online classes more manageable. It is best to wait until week three or so before starting groups so that students can get used to your class and each other. Realize that students in a Bb group can only see their own group work - but there are many ways to expand beyond this (see below). The instructor should always observe the group's progress and ask to be informed of any "slackers" so that they can be emailed about responsibility. You can change and mix groups over the semester (including leaders). Advise students that they are responsible for managing other group members (including any changes needed for those who might drop out midway).

Group Activities
Discussion Board
  • For each week or chapter, have a group develop questions based on the readings. Then have them post these to a Db for all students to read and have them moderate all posts for that week. Next week, new group. (for a clear description of setting up groups in Bb, see the sidebar)
  • Split large classes into isolated groups for all discussions (mix members throughout the semester)
  • Create "special interest" groups for those who want to focus on a particular topic in your course
  • Here the leader must divide and assign work (by task such as searching, graphics, programming or by content) and must set mini-deadlines to keep the task on-schedule
  • Include a final public class presentation or summary.
  • Consider having students use Google Docs .
Jeopardy Games LIVE
  • Students can gain points by playing (and winning) in a Jeapordy-type game on course subject matter
  • Use the Bb Chat or Bb Virtual Classroom
  • See sidebar for tips on live sessions
Chat Sessions
  • Use live discussion on a particular topic or for review sessions before tests (vary times so that all have a chance to attend)
  • The instructor does not have to attend these, but could assign a student moderator and later view the recorded transcripts for grading
  • Use the Bb whiteboard in combination with live chat for diagrams and charts to get a live, F2F feel
  • See the sidebar for tips on using chat
  • Schedule local, in-person, F2F groups for study sessions or for assignment coordination
  • Use peer review such as commenting on other student papers (as in English courses)
  • Have students post their homework and have other students do critiques in the Db
  • Try using the Bb's Group Browser which allows many students to view Web pages simultaneously.
  • Read Group Work in Distance Learning Courses
Last Updated: 06/13/2018

In Focus

A step-by-step Bb process which will work for any project or activity.
Susan Haber discusses her use of groups.
Here is what you need to know to successfully use live chat sessions.
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  • Cuyamaca
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