How to Complete Online Group Projects

Four Parts:CommunicatingOrganizing and Assigning ResponsibilitiesCombining Individual ContributionsFixing Common Issues

The majority of students will work in a group to complete an assignment or task at some point in their academic career. Working in a group, while seemingly easy, can be a challenge. It is crucial for all group members to stay in contact, stay organized, contribute evenly, and work effectively in order to efficiently and properly execute the assignment or project at hand.

Part 1

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    Find your group members. Your group members may be assigned by your professor or you may be able to pick your group members. If your group members are assigned, locate your group members and find their emails. If you are to pick your group members, find classmates who you would like to ask along with their emails and suggest working in a group with them via email.
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    Get in contact with your group members. Start off by sending an email to your fellow group members. Introduce yourself and suggest a topic to approach the assignment followed with a suggestion of how to split the workload and approach doing so.

Part 2
Organizing and Assigning Responsibilities

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    Determine a subject or topic for the assignment. Make sure all group members agree on a topic and each member had a say in deciding on topic in order to set up for proper contribution from each group member. Determine a topic by discussing with your members through online forms of communication, i.e. email, Skype, etc.
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    Assign certain tasks to each individual group member. Be sure each group member has an equal workload. Once each member is assigned a task, he/she will begin their part. Although each member is required to complete his/her part, working together and utilizing all forms of online communication will encourage the group to work together to complete the assignment.
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    Create a document on a platform all group members can access. Once each individual group member begins working on his/her specific tasks for the assignment, create a document on a platform that all group members can access and work on simultaneously. For example, a Google document works much like a Microsoft Word document; however, this program allows for all group members to edit the same document at the same time. By using this platform or one similar, all group members can work on their specific individual parts while contributing their thoughts and ideas towards the other group members’ work and contributions.
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    Develop a time-line. Create a time-line for your project that can help keep everyone focused on deadlines for their individual parts while also being able to finish the project without any problems. This time-line should include who will do what, what the format of each part should be, when each individual should complete their part by, space for time to assemble all the parts into a final draft, and a date to examine the final draft and turn it in, preferably before the deadline.

Part 3
Combining Individual Contributions

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    Set a deadline for individual work well before the final due date. Allow enough time for any errors to be resolved without pushing past the submission date. Errors could range from not understanding the task of the project, submitting your portion without it reaching a group member/leader, or a personal sick day delaying your work.
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    Compile the work. A single group member can be assigned to compile the individual portions as part of their tasks. This group member usually has less work upfront to create an even split of contributions between members. This member has the option of taking the entire task of compiling under their wing and submitting without consent of the group or compiling it and seeking consent from the group. It is recommended and very common that the group member seeks consent from other group members before submitting as it can ease the feelings of other members. This member can in no way need to take the comments seriously and can choose to ignore any and all comments. If they choose, each member will go in one at a time and edit the document, creating an organized flow to the pieces. When editing on Google Docs, an icon to all members will show that they are editing, allowing each member to work one at a time
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    Go through final editing. It is best not to remove too much information from another person’s section. If you find that a member has redundant portion of writing that repeats something already said in the document, simply highlight the portion you think should be removed and add in a note. Each member can go in and agree or disagree and a simple majority can be used to decide how to edit a large portion. This last step helps remove any surprise from the final product as each member can see it come to be in real time.
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    Submit the project. Once all group members are satisfied with the output of the project, assign one group member preferably the compiler to submit the project online.

Part 4
Fixing Common Issues

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    Address any technological problems. How is the internet quality in your workplace? Is it too slow to be a quality member of the online group? Do you even have a signal? Before you decide to work online, the first thing you should do is ensure the router and signal is up to the task. If you purchase a wireless router with a smaller capacity for speed than your internet signal is capable of you will be capping yourself. If you do not mind working in a single place in your work space, a simple choice would be to directly connect your computer to the internet with an Ethernet cord. This will provide you with the fastest and most stable internet connection.
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    Fix any problems between group members. It is hard in any sense to ensure that each member of the team is doing all that they are assigned to be doing, making this problem even more apparent virtually. To overcome this is why all tasks should be broken down as evenly as possible among the members presented in an easily readable and obtainable list as far in advance as possible. This will ensure that each member knows all of their responsibilities as far ahead of the completion date as possible, allowing any necessary changes to be made to ensure completion.


  • Elect a group leader early on so they can help keep everyone in touch and make sure everything that is needed is being completed on time. They will also be responsible for seeking that the work is organized while also encouraging everyone's contributions.
  • Figure out the best means of communication between all the group members not limited to email. Other options can include exchanging phone numbers, creating a Facebook group, Skype, and etc.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your professor for any help needed on the project.

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Categories: Learning Techniques and Student Skills