Supporting your students

Students often do not know how to effectively work in groups or teams, so supporting students to learn how to collaborate, and how to be collaborative, may require some work up front with students.

How to support your students

Setting up the group activity

  • Develop clear guidelines and instructions about the activity. Let students know what they need to do and what the deadlines are.
  • Provide technology support resources (see links below)
  • Have clear marking guides or rubrics (quality of output)
  • Set group work expectations (expected behavior)
    • Team contracts can be used to get students to set their own expectations. Students can write these at the beginning of the teaching period, and evaluate at the end.
    • Get students involved in setting the communication and collaboration strategies for their team.
  • Set up Moodle submission based on marking criteria. If you are marking as a group or individually, these need to be set up in the activity and Gradebook.
  • Have a mediation plan in place for any contingencies that may arise in groups, but use this as a last resort to give groups agency when managing issues.

Managing the group activity

  • Clearly explain to students what they need to do for the task.
  • Get students to discuss roles and responsibilities in the group.
  • Set up specific times to connect with students and provide verbal guidance. You can use any of the following to do this.
    • Use a Forum to address questions or get students to share their draft work for peer feedback.
    • Zoom breakout rooms are a great way to check in on student progress
    • Have regular short meetings with each group so that questions and queries can be addressed quickly and easily. This avoids lengthy back-and-forth email correspondence which can be time-consuming for both educators and students. You could use a scheduling tool integrated into Google Calendar for this.
  • Build in opportunities to see projects at various stages of completion. The following tools can help you have an oversight over their progress.
    • Google Docs and MS Teams can be used to see progress and provide feedback.
  • Get students to use project management tools so that they can become accountable for their tasks within a team. You can let students know they can use the following for free to manage their projects and group work.
    • Trello or Planner can be used to track who is doing what and when.

What resources and services are available to students

The following resources may be useful for educators to refer students to to help them work collaboratively:

Working in groups and teams

This guide assists students with the process, leadership, and possible difficulties around group and team work.

Getting started with Teams

This library guide details the basic knowledge required for students to start accessing and using MS Teams.

Communicating in Teams

There are several ways of communicating with peers and facilitators across different teams/groups. This guide provides instruction on how to chat in private groups, meetings, and through video.

Files in Teams

To collaborate effectively, students should house shared resources in Teams. This guide explains how to share files, tabs, and the Google drive.

Faculty-specific resources on group and teamwork

The following resources produced by individual Monash faculties outline the pedagogical background, design, and delivery approaches for teamwork tasks, with specific focus on discipline needs.

Guidelines for Student Group Work - Faculty of IT

This guide, written for students, provides guidelines about student group work in the Faculty of Information Technology.

Guide for Working in a Team - Faculty of IT

This guide, written for students, provides strategies for students working in teams in the Faculty of Information Technology.

Working in a team - Faculty of Engineering

This guide, written for students, provides guidelines for working in groups and teams in the Faculty of Engineering.

Draw inspiration