Remote but not solo, Moodle and Group Work
By Samantha Ahern, on 24 June 2020
Social learning is an important part of the learning experience for students. It enables knowledge consolidation and application, and opportunities for cross-curricula and inter-disciplinary learning. In addition, through working in groups students are able to develop valuable employability skills such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving and negotiation. However, group work can be tricky to design and mange effectively and needs careful consideration. I recommend reading: Burke, A. (2011). Group work: How to use groups effectively. Journal of Effective Teaching, 11(2), 87-95.
Moodle can be used to facilitate this rich learning experience through use of the group feature. Separate groups allow students to contribute and see work within their own groups, visible groups on the other hand allow students to only contribute to their own group work but they can view work taking place in other groups.
The following activities could be set up for collaboration amongst groups of students:
- Forum: create a forum (just one), assign students to groups, students will only see post made in their group, give students a clear task. – staff can review what is happening in each group. For more information and links case to studies see the Discussion Forums MiniGuide.
- Chat: group chat sessions- create a space where students can arrange to meet and work collaboratively on a task. For more information see the MoodleDocs article Using Chat.
- Glossary: In groups or as a cohort build a glossary of key terms that students may encounter on the course. Might be really useful e.g for medical terms. Each time the term is used on the course a defintion will be highlighted. For more information and links case to studies see the Glossary MiniGuide.
- Database: share resources and entries e.g. create a collaborative resource bank, or peer review of shared work. For more information about how to use databases and ideas for usage see the MoodleDocs article Using Databases.
- Workshop: enables students to peer review work submitted by others. Students can be assigned work to review or students can be assigned work to review randomly. There is a lot to be considered and set-up for the effective use of Moodle workshops, their use needs to be carefully planned in advance for them to be a meaningful part of a module’s design. For more information see the Moodle workshop for peer assessment MiniGuide.
Related Arena case studies
Some of these case studies make use of Moodle, others do not. But all discuss an element of group work that could be modified for a Connected Learning and facilitated via Moodle.
- Peer instruction transforms the medical science classroom
- How we designed the assessment for an Arts & Sciences (BASc) core module
- Student Peer Evaluation: developing workplace and team-working skills
- Encouraging students to reflect through supportive but critical peer scrutiny