4 Tips for Online Group Projects During Flexible Learning Courses

Tue 1 Dec 2020

Establish Expectations and Group Guidelines During Flexible Learning Online
Meet Early and Often in your Flexible Learning Courses to Advance Group Work
Maximise Each of Your Classmates’ Professional Resources
Keep Group Projects Flexible When Learning Online

A master’s degree can do wonders for your career. It can help professionals qualify for advanced opportunities such as higher level management positions, or update their training to keep pace with changing trends and technologies. Unfortunately, many people working in creative industries may be reluctant or unable to relocate or devote the necessary time away from their careers and other responsibilities. Flexible learning courses provide an education solution for these students, who enjoy a learning experience equal in quality to on-campus Master’s courses while learning primarily online from anywhere in the world. They can learn flexibly from industry leading academics while continuing to advance their careers and balance other commitments.

Flexible or blended learning doesn't mean learning in isolation as Falmouth’s flexible Master’s degrees demonstrate. The intuitive online learning platform facilitates frequent interaction with tutors and other students from around the world, and there are plenty of opportunities for face-to-face meetings with lecturers, fellow students and industry leaders, during the optional residential workshops held biannually at various international locations. Dynamic discussion, live feedback sessions, and group projects are an important part of each course.

Learning environments that feature collaboration, cooperation and communication mirror common practices encountered in the workplace. In our ubiquitously networked world where projects often involve digital collaboration across borders or simply via home offices, connected learning by engaging with peers is an essential skill. For students who might initially find this working method challenging, here are some tips for effective online group work.

Establish Expectations and Group Guidelines During Flexible Learning Online

As mature professionals, MA students are generally expected to use their own initiative and experience when it comes to planning out and completing their coursework. As a result, it’s crucial that before beginning any group project, students are clear about what they expect of one another and what they aim to achieve together. Avoid the phenomenon known as "social loafing" by establishing accountability regarding how each group member is expected to contribute and guidelines for group interactions. For example, a team charter might clarify the group's purpose, rules for the timely and successful completion of tasks, and the frequency and methods for intercommunication.  

flexible learning online

Keep online group projects organised and coordinated by clarifying expectations

Individual group roles (such as project leader, editor, recorder, etc.) may be delegated, at least in terms of a "lead" person, or rotated among members over time. While everyone should have a voice and contribute more or less equally, it's generally useful to have a leader emerge to coordinate the team's efforts.

Meet Early and Often in your Flexible Learning Courses to Advance Group Work

Look over the due dates for upcoming group assignments and other course work as early as possible to clarify any potential questions with tutors and begin to plan for task completion. Well functioning groups meet early to divide up the work, ensuring everyone understands their responsibilities and the next steps. Schedule regular meetings and check-in frequencies as the course progresses so there is plenty of time for review and final changes before the assignment is submitted.

“Undertaking the MA as a distance learning student has given me everything I hoped for... a flexible timetable (so I can listen to a lecture and study when it suits me) and tutors who really know their craft. Most of all, it’s given me the confidence I needed...”

– Kelly Stevens, MA

Maximise Each of Your Classmates’ Professional Resources

Students in Falmouth's flexible learning courses may be based anywhere in the world, each with their unique backgrounds and professional experience. As a result, individual team members will often have access to any number of specific resources which could benefit your overall project, such as technical equipment, industry specific research, or even contacts with industry experts. Everyone benefits when each member is generous in sharing their insights and resources, helping elevate your work to a new level and leading to more fruitful learning experience for the team as a whole.

flexible learning courses

Falmouth Flexible students around the world each contribute their unique talents to online group projects

Keep Group Projects Flexible When Learning Online

In flexible learning programmes it is particularly important that task completion is designed with sufficient flexibility to accommodate each member's busy schedule. This is best accomplished by planning ahead and being proactive with progressing the project, but it's also essential that members adequately communicate their availability and upcoming responsibilities or travel plans that will have to be worked around. Learning to work together efficiently and effectively in this manner can have its challenges but it's ultimately a critical learning experience for career preparation in the 21st century.

Would you like to pursue your MA through a flexible learning online course?

Falmouth University has a well earned reputation for launching international graduates' careers in leading creative enterprises.


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