Course - Groups

What are the Benefits to Creating a Group?
-Grade group projects
-Target the academic level of each of your students
-Improve participation in discussions
-Improve creativity

There are a few benefits to creating groups.  For example, perhaps you have 30 students in a class and you want to lead a discussion in class about the advantages and disadvantages of group therapy.  So you split the students into two groups.  The groups can have their own private discussion forums on moodle without the other group seeing it.  In other words, both groups would be given a week to prepare their argument before the in-class debate.  This allows the students to have an open discussion, muck like any other public forum, but on a smaller scale.  In this example, you can split the students into more groups to present other areas to discuss as a whole class.  (e.g. perspectives from-consumer survivor, professional, family members, other group participants, etc.)

In addition to the aforementioned, you can increase the likelihood of participation by dividing the class into smaller groups.  In other words, it may flush out the students who are less active in larger online discussions.  Some students may lose the creative spark if they see his or her idea or point already mentioned in a previous post.  By splinting the students into smaller groups, it allows several students to point out the same general topic, but may yield multiple view points with unique descriptions that may in turn spark creativity in other students.  This option also makes it a little easier for students to get the hang of posting online.  So you can use smaller groups in the beginning of the semester and then expand to larger groups as the student grows.

Another benefit to creating group is for grading group assignments.  

Lastly, you can add a feature called "grouping" which allows professors the ability to provide assignments for specific groups.  You can have group A complete one assignment and group B complete another and have the same point value.  In addition, you can also add certain students to a group who may need a little more help.  In other words, if a student is struggling, but shows a great deal of willingness and effort, an extra credit assignment can be created that only the struggling students will see.  This is also a way to cater to all of the students in your class, based on his or her academic ability.  If you have students who are very interested in the course, you can assign more challenging work.  So as you can see, this feature allows you to target the ability of each student on an individual basis.  


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