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3 Tips for Helping Students Collaborate Online

Collaboration is a key component of success as it allows different perspectives to work toward a common goal. In the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is an increased need for effective online collaboration. Whether it is in an academic, professional, or personal setting, online collaboration is a skill that students will use throughout their lifetime. It is imperative that students are taught to effectively collaborate online from a young age.

Tip 1. Remind students to communicate with teammates during all phases of a collaborative project.

Delegating tasks is crucial when it comes to collaborating online. It is important to communicate with teammates throughout the project even when you have delegated tasks to individuals. Each individual needs to be aware of what the other members of the team are doing. When collaborating in online spaces, students have to divide and conquer. Encouraging effective task delegation allows students to complete tasks efficiently.

Tip 2. Emphasize the pros and cons of different online collaboration tools.

Students must understand how to choose online collaboration tools that best meet the needs of their end goals or the requirements of an assignment. For example, Google Docs might be best for writing a paper collaboratively online. Meanwhile, Google Slides might be best for creating a collaborative presentation online. This evaluative process might include trial and error to provide students with constructive guidance throughout the tool selection process.

Tip 3. As a class, create a collaboration expectation checklist to help students work efficiently.

This exercise is designed to help students stay accountable while engaging in online collaboration. The checklist might include how often to communicate. The checklist may also strengthen collaborative relationships among students and encourage students to develop collaboration checklists within their own assignment teams to help everyone stay organized and on track.

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