Groupwork in a HyFlex Teaching Environment

Below will give you some ideas on how to do groupwork in a HyFlex environment.

Groupwork in HyFlex classrooms can be set up using different methods. It may seem somewhat challenging but is so rewarding.  Group activities create more opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving and communication. All of these promote student learning, achievements and success.  

What can groups do?

What are common challenges?

How can groups work in a Live HyFlex classroom?

  • During class
    • Have students log into Blackboard groups during class 
    • Use the group wiki or journal to work through a class exercise 
    • Mix up the group members to include remote and classroom students
    • Include a group discussion forum for the think-pair-share type of activities 
  • Outside of class 
    • Continue the classroom discussion/activity to bring the results to next class 
    • Assign the group a project, including a recorded presentation. Post the recording in the class discussion forum, VoiceThread, blog, or other tool and ask the class to watch and comment on several of the presentations. 
    • Use group peer assessment for a writing project each student works on independently. This provides students with the experience of providing constructive feedback to others. 
    • Provide guidance on how the student can manage their groups; assign roles, group contract, plan and assessment. 
  • Breakout rooms in the videoconferencing tool you have selected 
    • Bb Collaborate Ultra – assign students to breakout rooms during each class session, when needed 
    • Zoom – pre-assign students to groups prior to class, retaining same groups all semester 
  • Group activities  
    • Think-Pair-Share  
      • Pose a question for the students to “think” about 
      • Break the students out into 2-3-member breakout rooms, giving them time to “pair” and discuss 
      • Close the breakout rooms and bring the students back. Call on random groups to have their reporter “share” their discussion 
      • Prior to class post the question in a discussion forum to continue the conversation with the class as a whole (including asynchronous, as needed) and for the group reporters to post their “sharing” comments 
    • One-Minute Paper (Angelo & Cross Classroom Assessment Techniques)  
      • Breakout room members (same as Bb group members) take 1-2 minutes to complete a KWL exercise independently.  
      • Take their notes and create a wiki chart to write up the responses from all the members. Are there commonalities? Are the answers very different?  
      • When breakout room time ends have the reporter for the group ready to share their work to the class. KWL Activity – what I Know, what I Want to know and what I have Learned.  
    • Find Additional Examples in Kevin Kelly’s PhilOnTech blog post on COVID 19 Planning for Fall. More available in Google docs with a Creative Commons sharing license for others to use. 
    • Stump your Group   
      • Students design a question to try to stump their peers 
      • Group votes on what the best stump question was and shares with class when breakout rooms close 
      • Post on Discussion Forum to include asynchronous students and share with the class. Not all groups will be able to share their voice during class. 
    • Debate   
      • Group selects spokesperson to debate other group (prep outside of class) 
      • Role-playing debate 
    • Polling – TurningPoint Web, Zoom or Collaborate 
      • Ask 4-5 questions based on the current lecture or previous day’s work 
      • Have students, independently, respond to the questions (have them write down their responses) 
      • Break the students into groups to discuss their answers 
      • Close the groups and run the poll again 
      • Compare and discuss the first poll – discussion – last poll. What changed? Why? 
    • Problem Solving or Case Study – discussion and final report, individually or as a group

How can groups work outside of class?

Additional Resources

Eberly Center, Carnegie Mellon University – What are the Benefits of Group Work? 
Group Work: How to use Groups Effectively
Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University