Online courses allow students to work on their own time and at their own pace, but what if your course requires you to complete team assignments? Instead of being fully responsible for your own grades, you now have to rely on others and at the same time, your classmates have to rely on you. Admittedly, I was nervous when I saw team assignments in my current course’s syllabus but now that we have turned in the first of three, I want to share a few tips to help you succeed.
Scope out your potential teammates. During the first week when everyone was doing their introduction posts, I read and responded to more posts than I have in previous courses. I connected with my classmates right away so that when it was time to select a team, I had already bonded with a few people.
Select a topic early. I got lucky with my teammates as they are extremely motivated students. As soon as our instructor officially announced our groups, we started a private message thread. There, we brainstormed our paper topic and shared our strengths and weaknesses to better split up the work.
Set expectations. You and your teammates likely have different work schedules and/or extracurricular obligations. Since you are partially responsible for their grade as well as your own, make sure to talk with your teammates about times when you will not be available and set realistic expectations for everyone involved.
Lean on your team. I am stubborn when it comes to accepting help but it’s important to know when and how to ask for help. The section I was working on started to confuse me but instead of throwing in the towel, I reached out to my teammates, showed them what I had completed so far, and asked for their reassurance.
Get a final look. When we started working on this assignment, one person volunteered to compile and submit it. This prevented us from having multiple versions of the same paper out for review and made the whole process more manageable. Once a final draft was prepared, each teammate proofread it and either marked the document for edits or emailed corrections to the group.
Now that your paper is turned in, congratulate yourself and your team on the hard work they put into it. Reflect on what did or didn’t work and make adjustments for the next assignment.
By Madeline Kronfeld
Online Learning Tips, Special Contributor