Using Student Groups as a DocSharing Space, Group Project Collaboration Area, and Journaling/Blogging

Student Groups in Northwest Online allow for additional functionality in your course site. When a student group is created in a course, the group is given access to a faux course site area. This area resembles the faculty-view of a course site, but all members of the group have permissions to participate in all capacities in that area. They can upload files, create discussions, begin conferences, post announcements, create pages, etc. This allows the group to collaborate freely. This group area is a subset of the course. The course instructor can still monitor and participate in all of the groups. There are multiple ways this can work to our benefit, such as DocSharing, group project collaborative area, and journaling or blogging.

One feature that was missed by many faculty in the migration from the old Northwest Online to the new Northwest Online was the DocSharing feature. DocSharing was a repository where instructors and students could load documents to share with the entire class. We found some workarounds when we started with the new Northwest Online, by creating a module or folder called DocSharing where students could find important documents uploaded by the instructor. There still wasn’t a location where students could upload for sharing. We also offered using discussion boards to share the student documents. Now, we would like to offer a suggestion of using student groups as a DocSharing area also. Create a student group in your course site and add all students to that group. That will allow all the students access to this area for document sharing.

Another use for the student groups is for group projects. The faux course site area increases the opportunity for group work and projects to be assigned for all students taking courses in all formats. Typically, a fully online student was not able to fully participate in group projects and group work due to location. Meeting with other students located in different states can cause logistical issues with collaboration. This collaborative area also gives students a way to conference with each other. There is video conferencing built into this area, allowing the students to schedule synchronous meeting times with group members outside of the normal class time.

Another feature that was missed by some users post-migration was the journaling feature. By using student groups, you can create a separate group for each student and assign the discussion assignment to all students, but checking the box signifying the discussion is a group discussion. This allows the student to post freely in the discussion, without the anxiety of someone other than the instructor viewing or commenting on the post.

These are just a few of the opportunities student groups can provide to instructors in Northwest Online. For more information on student groups, visit these guides in the Community.

Video on groups and interactions:

What are student groups?

As the instructor, how can I see the group member’s activity?

I’m in a student group. What does that mean?

How can I view the group files?