Group Work & Study Groups
Studying and working in a group can help you practice and apply the concepts you’re learning in your courses. Find out more about the benefits of working in a group, some tips for effective group progress, and helpful collaboration tools.
Why work in a group?
- Being accountable to others in a study or project group can be a good motivator, keeping you on a schedule and reducing procrastination.
- Collaborating with other students will allow you to learn from their different ideas and perspectives. Teaching others is one of the best ways to learn, so explaining and discussing difficult topics together can reinforce your understanding.
- When your instructor has given permission for students to work on individual assignments together or it is a group assignment, you can save time and share the workload. This can make studying and completing assignments more fun and help you meet others in your course(s) or program!
Please note, however, that it is not acceptable to work on individual assignments as a group unless specified by the instructor. Academic integrity means taking full responsibility for the academic work you produce, so your professors can evaluate you on the basis of your own knowledge and effort. Always check with your instructor if you want to work together on an individual assignment.
Forming a study group
- Use Study Buddies - this feature of the Navigate app allows you to join a group for your class to connect with other students to form a study group.
- Reach out to classmates - ask other students in a class, lab, online meeting/breakout room, or post a message in a general discussion forum in your Brightspace course, if available.
- Aim for 5-6 members - consider that with more members, it can be more challenging to coordinate session times and facilitate meetings to get the most out of your study time; a study “group” can be as few as two people if you prefer.
Tips for effective group work
1. Establish a group plan, considering:
- When, where, how often and how long you’ll meet (and using which tool, in the case of online meetings)
- Expectations for participation - what should each member do to prepare for meetings?
- How will the group stay focused and productive? Who will organize meetings, take notes, and so on?
2. Decide what activities will meet your group goals and try to stick to them.
During group meetings, will you:
- Discuss and review lectures, readings and course notes
- Work on questions, problem sets or practice tests and review together
- Quiz each other to ensure understanding of the material
- Break down a project into smaller tasks with deadlines and distribute among the group, or plan a schedule to collaborate on smaller chunks of work
Decide on the activities you'd like to work on as a group and plan your meetings accordingly so group members know what to expect and can prepare. Try planning different activities to correspond with what's coming up in your course (e.g. an important assignment? midterm exam? group project?).
Not sure what to do as a study group or looking for new ways to work together? Check out the University of Oregon’s Collaborative Learning Activities for Remote Study Groups for some ideas. Remember to use group-created documents for study or for group assignments, but not as part of individual assignments.
3. Make sure every group member benefits.
- Take turns - if some members dominate the group’s time or others aren’t speaking up, consider establishing roles so everyone can contribute equally.
- Be supportive - consider all ideas and viewpoints when creating a plan, setting up meetings, and working together.
Consider this list of Goals, Roles, & Ground Rules (bonus: group work roadmap!) to help create a group experience that is helpful to everyone.
Tools and apps for group work
- Navigate - Use Study Buddies to connect with other students in your courses to form a study group
- Google suite - Your MUNmail account gives you access to tools such as Google Drive and Google Meet, which you can use to share and collaborate on documents and host online meetings.
- Web-conferencing apps - whether you use Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or a similar app, take advantage of features like whiteboarding, screen sharing, and breakout rooms. Try to choose the application that most group members are comfortable with and be patient with any technical issues if others are learning to use a new tool.