Replacing a workgroup

Interactive workgroups or tutorials are an important part of academic education. It is therefore important that the goals that are normally achieved in the working groups are also addressed in a remote teaching setting.

A working group contains active work forms and interaction. This can be done in small groups or plenary, both forms can be created online.

First considerations 

  1. Groups of up to 20 students

  2. Interactive working methods are essential

  3. Online collaboration is an important part

  4. Preparation time varies


There are several options for facilitating online interaction and collaboration. Below are some that are used within Leiden University or that require little preparation. Of course, you do not have to choose only one format, sometimes a (combination of) other format (s) offers a good solution.

  • A digital working group
    Digital workgroups can be set up using Kaltura Live Room. Students can then work in smaller groups to discuss issues or work on assignments together.

  • A discussion
    Academic discussions can be conducted live, but also in text. For example, a forum or a chat can be used for this. Just remember that the discussion should be moderated, just like it would be in real life. Check this article for more information on facilitating discussions.

  • A collaborative product
    By having students work on a joint end-product that other students can learn from, knowledge and skills can be applied. Think for example of a podcast, advice report or knowledge clip. It is important to continue supervising just as it would in a working group. Check this article for more information on collaborative learning.

In addition to the above-mentioned points, there are many other formats that can be a part of the working group.

Considerations and Educational Implementation 

  • Consider the group size
    Although it is easy to have several groups work together and guide them in an offline setting, this is not recommended in an online setting. If you want to supervise group work, allocate a time slot per group.

  • Combine formats
    In many cases it will be difficult to achieve all set goals or devised work forms within one format. Do not hesitate to combine different formats: as long as this is clearly communicated, this should not lead to confusion.

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