Remote Study Groups

The comfort of learning with your peers during remote learning can still be possible through a remote study group. Students from the same course collaborate to share their learning in this virtual space, ask questions, clarify their doubts, and discuss and re-learn content. Participating in a remote study group keeps in check the structure and routine for studying, connecting with other students who may need or can be potential study buddies. It provides opportunities to get questions answered—and helps other students answer questions.

How Can I Start a Remote Study Group?

Starting a Remote Study Group can seem complicated, but you can still do it if you take the first step. There may be others who feel they need to study in groups but they may not know how and where to start.

There are two possible situations that you can be in:

1. You want to join a group.

  • We can assign you to a group.
  • You can choose from an existing list of groups to join.

2. You want to form a group with your peers.

In either case, you need to fill the Remote Study Group form and CLTE will connect you with a group (either you select or we do it for you) or assist you in forming a group with your own members.

CLTE will:

  • Connect you with students with similar interests.
  • Organise and set-up your groups.
  • Schedule regular Zoom sessions.
  • Work with you to set clear expectations and guidelines for your group.
  • Create Moodle space for your group.
  • Guide you to evaluate your performance as a group.

Setting up a Remote Study Group that Works for Everyone.

Planning deliberately before your study group meets to study can diminish communication difficulties and enable your study groups to function effectively. It will be extremely beneficial to have a meeting to properly plan the logistics of your study group learning before you actually start your study groups. Learning together becomes extremely fruitful when you have a clear plan and choose specific activities that capitalise on the group format and your collaborative insights.

For students working online, the optimal group size is four to five. Groups this size enable:

  • Easier planning and management – Students can work with each other to determine best times to meet based on their location or (class or personal) timetables.
  • Improved accountability – Students are more visible to each other making it more difficult to shirk responsibilities and not do their fair share.
  • Better decision making – It can be easier for the students to work collectively on decisions and come to a consensus.
  • More meaningful contributions – With a larger project, each group member has the opportunity to make a valuable contribution and not feel they are completing “busy work”.
  • Stronger relationships – There’s greater opportunity for group members to get to know each other and become more cohesive in a shorter amount of time.

Establish good group dynamics online

  • Agree on ground rules for communication initially, including  the response time from each other. Everyone has different expectations for different mediums as well as varying commitments.
  • Consider exchanging  alternate contact details as a backup as there is always a possibility your primary communication channel may go down, or its notification messages may end up in a spam folder. A backup contact ensures you can still connect.
  • Be sensitive to time zone differences (for international students). Find out where everyone is located, and try to vary when you meet, so no one has to be up early or late every time.
  • You may want to meet with technology that supports video so you can see your teammates. The video makes a big difference in keeping everyone engaged and connected and using facial expressions to communicate.
  • Use online collaboration tools everyone is comfortable with and can access. If some teammates have advantages like bigger screens or faster Internet connections, try to divide the work to take tasks better done with these (it is a fair division of labour).

Managing your Remote Study Group.

Being a Positive Group Member 

As a member of a study group, it is imperative that you create a positive, warm and friendly atmosphere for some positive group dynamics.

Tips for an Active Study Group

  • Create a Schedule – Plan when and how to have group meetings and discussions.
  • Ask Questions – Stay active during group discussions! Ask questions, seek answers and make sure you understand.
  • Be Positive – Remind your group about the importance of staying positive – you are all here to learn!
  • Schedule Breaks – Schedule in phone breaks and time for chatting so you can stay focused while working.
  • Be Prepared Always – Complete all assignments, review notes and write down any questions before meeting in groups.
  • Assign Roles – Group leader for the week, Note-taker, facilitator, time keeper etc. Try to volunteer for different roles within the group on a rotational basis.
  • Set Goals – Have objectives for each meeting – what do you want to get done?

Guide to effective Remote Study Groups

Working in groups can be very interesting but at the same time, it can have its share of challenges. It would be best if you considered the following:

  • Stay focused – do not be tempted to waste time on stories, gossip and jokes.
  • Avoid conflicts – handle disagreements and differences of opinions politely and positively.
  • Share – not only ideas and views but also effective study and revision techniques, valuable resources and essential information about the course.
  • Language – use a common language which is understood by all the members, preferably English.
  • Be respectful – allow everyone to share ideas and views equally and respect each other’s cultures and values as well. Do not use abusive or vulgar language.
  • Be cooperative.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I have to register to be part of the Remote Study Group?

Yes, registration is required. You will need to submit a Remote Study Group form.

2. Do I have to pay?

No, Remote Study Group is entirely free for students.

3. How long does each session last?
We recommend a 40 minutes session (as allowed by free Zoom account) followed by a break but it would be a collective decision from group members. You can schedule another 40 minutes session after the break. Group members can be considerate to participants who might have internet issues.

4. Will the Remote Study Group connect through Moodle as well?

Yes, Remote Study Group members will have access to Moodle as well to share their ideas, views and resources.

5. Can we meet more than once per week?

Yes, you can request the group leader to organise more meetings based on your needs.

6. Who decides the agenda for the Remote Study Groups?

The group members decide, either predetermined or spontaneous, on what they want to learn or discuss during the session.

7. How can we connect together?

One you have filled the Remote Study Group form, CLTE will assist you in forming groups and connecting you to other members.

8.  What if I have a question that is not answered here?

Please feel free to email Ms. Ferine Bano at clte@fnu.ac.fj