How to Form an Online Study Group
Posted Thursday, Oct 14, 2010 by
Online learning is becoming increasingly popular. But online education poses its own set of challenges. For students accustomed to traditional physical campuses, learning online can at first seem distant and lonely. With no direct physical contact with fellow students, it may seem like you’re “on your own” when it comes to succeeding at your studies.
One effective way of overcoming any sense of isolation — and simultaneously getting the most from your online education — is to form an online study group. Today, if you’re on the Internet or have a mobile phone, you’re already accustomed to Instant Messaging (IM) and texting. You may even have experience with Skype or other web-based video chat services. If so, making the leap to creating an online study group with fellow students should not be difficult.
If you are taking — or are planning to take — online courses, here are some tips to create and manage a successful online study group:
- Choose your group members carefully. A study group should be formed to do just that — study. You want group members who are serious about success, who are dependable, well-organized and eager to contribute. Look for compatible personalities and high levels of enthusiasm.
- Keep the group fairly small. Keep your group limited to four to six people. You want enough people to keep the mix interesting, but small enough so everyone has a chance to contribute. Also, the fewer number of people, the easier it is to coordinate times and schedules.
- Choose a medium everyone finds comfortable. Everyone needs to agree on the service/technology they will use to communicate. This could be an IM service, video-chat service or a “virtual campus” provided by your online school.
- Select a moderator. One person should be in charge of running the study sessions. That doesn’t mean he/she actually leads all the discussions, but one person should be responsible for getting each session started, making sure the conversation stays on topic, limiting personal conversations, keeping an eye on the clock and then making sure the session ends on time. Also, this person can be in charge of communicating schedule changes or other information to fellow group members between meetings.
- Assign a role to every group member. While one person serves as the permanent moderator, others can rotate leading the daily meetings, preparing agendas, taking group notes, etc. It’s important that everyone has a job to do and that responsibilities are distributed evenly.
- Set an agenda. Each meeting should focus on a single topic, and that topic should be chosen ahead of time to allow for adequate preparation. A good time to choose a discussion topic is at the end of each meeting; be sure to leave time for this task.
- Quiz one another. Each meeting should contain a test/quiz prepared ahead of time by one of the group members. Taking practice quizzes is not only an effective way of learning material, but preparing such tests can also be an excellent way to master a given topic.
- End each session by preparing for the next. End each session by having everyone agree on a time for the next meeting, the topic to be discussed and assigning roles.
Participating in an online study group can be a great way to optimize your online education experience. It can also be lots of fun and a great way to make new friends!
Everest University Is Available Online
Are you someone who could benefit from a degree but just don’t have the time or opportunity to go to a traditional school? Online degree programs are available now from Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. For more information on programs, schedules, accreditation and costs, contact Everest University Online today! Financial aid is available for those who qualify.