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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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As a student, you are part of a learning community made up of you, your tutors and your peers as well as others ourside your course. Other people in your cohort can be a valuable source of support as well as having a role to play in furthering your learning. 

Sometimes, this may take the form of group assessments such as presentations or it may comprise group learning activities set by your tutor as part of a module. 

  • Group assignments and tasks

    Group work involves essential skills in collaboration, communication and team-working which are invaluable in the workplace. To help you develop these skills, some of your modules may have assessments such as group presentations or reports. Group work can sometimes be challenging, but there are strategies to ensure group projects run smoothly:

    Appoint a leader The group leader has responsibility for moving the project forwards and keeps track of the group's progress. Discuss who should be leader with your group members. A good leader will be organised and allow everyone to participate in making decisions. They'll also seek solutions should the group encounter any problems. 
    Exchange contacts Ensure everyone has contact details for each member of the group. You might also consider setting up a group chat for the assignment or project where you can easily ask questions and give updates.
    Meet regularly Arrange regular meetings to share progress. You can meet face-to-face or virtually in a video call. It's helpful if someone takes notes on what was discussed shares them with the group.
    Assign tasks Break down a larger piece of work into smaller chunks and create a list of the individual tasks to complete. Divide these tasks between members so the workload is evenly distributed. 
    Set deadlines Agree task deadlines with the group and ensure you are all clear on what needs to be done by when. It can help to use project management techniques such as Ganntt charts that give you an overview of task deadlines to help you see how a project will come together.

    Tackle issues early

    Should disagreements or issues arise, it's best to address them sooner rather than later. A group meeting can be held to work through what's going wrong. If you're struggling with your tasks, do tell the other members. It may be that the work can be given to someone else or another solution can found, without having any negative impact on your group's work.

  • Study groups

    Peer Learning can also take place on a more informal basis. Studying and communicating with others on your course can help you:

    • Work together to understand more difficult course content
    • Solve problems and find answers to questions
    • Share helpful study strategies
    • Provide moral support and encouragement

    Try getting together a small group of students from your course and meet on a regular basis. Your study group meetings can be virtual, or if it's safe to do so, in person. Working together as a group will enable you to share ideas, ask questions and support each other. Consider the following tips for setting up an effective study group:

    1. Agree a schedule

    First of all, decide on a day and time and perhaps schedule a few study meets over the course of the semester. Bear in mind the study group memebers will have different commitments and you want to ensure some flexibility.

    2. Consider your medium

    Usually study groups take place face-to-face in shared spaces such as the Library or a cafe. Under the current circumstances, it may be more appropriate to conduct your study groups virtually. This can be done using Microsoft Teams which is available to you via your University Office 365 account but you may wish to use Zoom, Discord or other video calling platforms. 

    3. Set an objective

    Study groups can be most productive when there is a specific focus or aim. An example would be to make sense of the assignment brief, or to talk about a specific theory covered in a lecture. Alternatively, it might be that you all work on your assignments individually, but the study group allows you to do so in a supportive environment. Whatever the focus of the session, agreeing on an objective means everyone knows what to expect and ensures a shared purpose.

     

  • Buddy-ups

    'Buddying up' in pairs or trios can be another way to reap the benefits of peer learning. Regular contact with another student can provide motivation and encouragement when you're perhaps finding your studies tough or you find yourself procrastinating over an assignment. It can be as simple as checking-in with each other on a regular basis to see how you're getting on. 

    Your 'study buddy' doesn't necessarily have to be someone from your cohort. It may be someone you work or live with who is on a different course to you. 

    As with study groups, you can arrange to meet your study partner face-to-face for a chat or arrange phone or video calls and allow you both to share your experiences and offer support. Be careful to maintain boundaries and do tell your partner to talk to their personal tutor or Student Services if you feel they need more help than would be appropriate for you to provide.

  • Chat groups

    Create chat groups with your peers to create an online environment to ask questions, check undertsanding and share resources. Course groups on social media can help maintain a sense of course community which is especially important if some or all of your course content is delivered online. 

    Try and get a consensus over what people on your course would prefer to use to communicate. Some possible platforms are:

    • MS Teams chat
    • Facebook groups and Messenger
    • Discord 
    • WhatsApp

    To keep the community friendly, inclusive and supportive, it's worth establishing some shared ground rules on behaviour and ettiquette amongst your group. Also check our social media guidance to ensure you comply with the rules on Student Conduct, especially if you are a student on a professional or vocational course such as Nursing or Education. 

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