In the last article we talked about some different types of activity that could be the focus for groupwork and collaboration. If students are on campus, whilst they may meet in groups face-to-face, they could use digital tools to support their group work. If students are learning remotely, then digital tools become crucial to completing groupwork activities. In part 2 of this series we look at some of the tools available in Blackboard and Microsoft Teams to support groupwork and collaboration.
What do digital tools need to offer?
- A communication channel for ongoing communication amongst the group.
- A place where they can create documents and presentations collaboratively to showcase their results.
- The opportunity for the teacher to check in on their progress and offer support.
Tools in Blackboard
Students in your Blackboard course can be assigned to groups. Once they are in a group you can give them group access to tools that they can use to have discussions and collaboratively create content:
Within these, members of a group can create and manage their own discussion forums and threads.
Students can collaboratively build web pages and tutors can see the stages of the wiki development as well as being able to view each student’s contributions..
Group members can post blog entries and make comments on blog entries. Any course member can view and add comments.
All of these Blackboard tools can optionally be used for assessment by assigning grades either to the whole group or for individual contributions.
Find out more on the CELT web site: Ways of Collaborating in Blackboard
Tools in Microsoft Teams
Students can be added to ‘Class Teams’, or ‘channels’, which are sub-sections of a Team. Once in a Team or Channel they will be able to communicate and collaborate via:
Having conversations In the team ‘posts’ section
Individual or group chats
Chatting with individuals or creating group chats.
Meetings and calls
Meeting up with each other or making impromptu calls
Shared documents and whiteboards
Collaboratively planning or developing content
Collaboratively sharing ideas and developing a multimedia digital notebook
Creating interactive reports, presentations, and digital stories.
Meeting in small groups within a live teaching session in Teams
If you decide to use a Class Team to facilitate groupwork – you can provide links to this within your Blackboard shell to make it a more seamless experience for students.
Find out more about collaboration in Teams on the Office 365 toolkit
DMU Replay for group work
The production of a video can be a great vehicle for students to showcase the products of their groupwork. Videos can be recorded outside of DMU Replay and uploaded for sharing, or students can use the recording and video sharing facilities in DMU Replay. Videos can be made available to other students on the module or just to teachers. They could also be submitted for assessment.
So there are a range of possibilities and some similarity with what is offered across platforms. The choice of which tools to use will depend on what you want to achieve as there are pros and cons for the different options. It’s worth exploring options to see what you think will work best – or DMU staff can seek advice from CELT.