How to use Study Groups to Help Your Students Learn and Connect in WebAssign

Study groups are a great way to study for a test, or work through difficult topics with your peers. Study groups that are physically separated can still meet, but they need to be planned for.
You can help organize and set up study groups in WebAssign as an instructor. Students can also complete an introduction assignment to ensure they are connected with their group.
Continue reading to learn how to facilitate study groups within your WebAssign course.
Step 1: Create a Study group
How to organize students into study groups
WebAssign allows you to organize your students into groups. You can either create your own groups using the ‘Group Creation tool’ or allow WebAssign randomly assign groups. Once groups have been created, students should be notified via email or WebAssign.
Pro Tip: Before exams, divide students into study groups that include students who did well and students who struggled with homework assignments. This will enable high-performing students to help others who are struggling in a group setting. It will save you time and increase your students’ confidence.
OR: Encourage students to form their own study groups
Do you prefer to encourage students in creating their own study groups? If so, you can give them some support to make it easier. These are some quick strategies that you can use to support your students. These strategies can be shared with students via email or in a WebAssign message.
In a discussion forum, students who are interested in joining a study group can post their questions to find others. To encourage coordination, ask them to include their email address and availability in the instructions.
Make an online survey or excel document and share it with your students. If they are interested in joining a study group, ask them to provide their email address and name. This document can be used to organize students in groups in WebAssign, as per the tip above. You can also share the final with students to help them form their own groups.
Step 2: Outline Study Group Goals & Available Resources
Set your Expectations
Do you use study groups to help students practice the course material or as part of your students’ course grades? Your expectations for students should be clear.
How often they should meet with the group (or a certain number of meetings).
What they should discuss in their group meeting. This could be reviewing a study book or having weekly meetings to review current course topics. If assignments or requirements change every week, make sure to include the information in the announcement, the syllabus, or in the assignment instructions.
How you plan on monitoring their study groups (if applicable). If they are required to participate in groups, ask them to complete assignments or post on a discussion board. If the group is voluntary, you won’t likely need to take any action.
Study Group Resources
Students should be aware of the resources available to them in order to have effective study group meetings. These could include:
Suggestions for virtual Study Rooms: Provide information in your study group briefing or assignment overview to help them host their meetings. This will include information about free video conference rooms such as Zoom or Skype.
eBooks: Show students where to find them and how to bookmark, create flashcards, highlight, and print material. Many eBooks include interactive examples and practice questions that can be used to solve odd-numbered problems.
You can easily include reference resources like lecture PowerPoints, videos, and study guides on your student homepage.
Class Insights – Use the Student View to show students where to find My Class Insights. Highlight how they can use it for reviewing past assignments or practicing a topic. This tool can be used when there is no required assignment and students want to review or practice past assignments with their group.
Step 3: Grading Your Study Groups
Create your Gradebook for Study Groups
These steps will help you to grade the participation in study groups.
Create a new category in your gradebook to accommodate study groups. This category will be used for any assignments that study groups are required to complete.
Under ‘gradebook settings,’ add the new category to your gradebook.
Decide how you plan to evaluate participation
You must decide how study groups will be evaluated if you require them for a grade. Consider the following:
One group member should post in a discussion forum reiterating their meeting topics or responding to a prompt you have created. Remind them to include their group number or all members’ names so that you can identify them easily

Author: Kody