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Curtin University

Group tool

Creating and managing groups


Blackboard guide

Showcasing group work

Terms: group, collaboration

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PD blog

Issue 10: Creating groups in Blackboard

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Issue 14: Creating groups in blackboard just got easier

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Issue 18: Where do I sign up?

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Issue 22: Live@edu a - window for staff

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Group work promotes a student centred learning experience, providing students with the opportunity to be both self-directed and collaborative. It facilitates the development of graduate attributes including teamwork, analytic and cognitive skills, and organisational skills.
Effective group work should:

  • Require the assignment of roles and allow for distribution of specific tasks
  • Be sufficiently complex that individual completion is problematic
  • Benefit the student by structuring the collaborative process
  • Incorporate ongoing monitoring as evidence of progress
  • Be assessed via a rubric that recognises individual contribution
  • Include the use of collaborative technologies to facilitate communication and sharing

Source: PD blog - Issue 14: Creating groups in blackboard just got easier

Tools for groups

Blackboard has a Group tool that provides members within a group several communication and productivity tools including

  • Group File Exchange
  • Group Discussion Board
  • Group Email

These tools are very useful for peer editing groups, for collaborative group work, or for collaborative assignments. Similarly, groups can also be used to support your teaching strategies.

Issue 10 of the PD blog goes into more detail about other collaborative technologies that can be utilised by formed groups as well as managing groups in the Grade Centre.

Curtin has adopted Microsoft Live@edu for its student email system. The Live@edu suite includes Office Live Workspace that provides a structured document sharing facility which enables students to collaborate on complex projects, store research and share work in progress. Issue 22 of the PD blog provides greater detail about the capabilities of Live@edu.

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Getting students into groups (Advanced Group Management)

The Advanced Group Management tool is a Blackboard building block designed to help you get your students into groups more effectively. Issue 14 of the PD blog details the ease with which you can now group your students by a variety of categories including location, course, attendance year and more.

Learn more about managing groups in Blackboard.

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Student self nominated groups

Student-centred learning encourages students to take responsibility for one own learning, a small step towards this could be to allow students to individually sign up for activities or form their own groups in order to build their own personal learning experience. The Sign Up tool in Blackboard works in the same way as a paper sign up sheet. This tool enables you to create a list for various activities such as tute groups, workshops, field trips, project groups or presentations time slots that students can sign up for.

As a staff member, using the Sign Up tool will save you time and effort when organising and managing activities within your unit. Plus, once you have created a Sign Up list and your students have signed up, you can automatically create groups based on your lists.

Issue 18 of the PD blog provides further information and links to tips sheets on how to administer a sign-up list.

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Useful resources

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