Group assignments can be challenging even during a regular semester. Different ideas, work schedules, ideal grades and learning styles can either make or break an assignment… So how can you collaborate successfully when you might not have ever met your teammates face to face?
We are still working out the best ways to do this, but we’ve got some quick tips to make it easier and a list of platforms and team management systems which we have found helpful so far.
Trello allows single users or groups to organize and prioritize project parts in a flexible way. You can make ‘cards’ or to-do items and categories them, moving tasks from to-do to done! Trello lets teams work on the same board, meaning all members can have an input and see what has already been completed.
Slack is a communication tool for groups. It allows you to categorise information (unlike a regular messenger chat) into channels. You can change your settings to receive notifications for channels which effect you most or alternatively you can direct message individual members. You can also link other applications with Slack, such as Google Calendars, so events or important dates can automatically sync to other members.
For working together
Asana is another team management platform. It is almost like a mix of Trello and Slack in one place. You can view to-do tasks as a list, in a calendar, or on a board. Asana really helps to easily assign and view who is in charge of which task and when it’s due. It lets you collaborate with up to 15 teammates and link apps such as Creative Cloud, One Drive and Google Drive.
Google Drive: https://www.google.com/drive/
Google drive has really revolutionised how we work and share documents. If you haven’t given it a go, yet certainly do! Teams can work on the same Google Doc (similar to word) or slideshow in real-time. Teams can create folders to upload other files and references too. You can also leave comments for each other, use the regular chat function, or screen share and video call through Google Hangouts.
Microsoft teams: https://products.office.com/en-au/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software/
Microsoft teams have many of the similar functions of google drive but works with the programs you know. In Teams, you can access, share, and edit Word docs, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real-time. You can message chat and video call easily from within the app.
Skype feels like the original video call service and it still exists today. One thing which is great about Skype is that you can call landlines or mobile numbers which could be great for collaborating with people who don’t have access to wifi or have a slow internet connection. It’s relatively easy to set up a chat and away you go!
I hadn’t heard of Zoom until last week and now it feels like it’s everywhere. Zoom is incredibly easy to use (even easier than Skype.) Simply download the app (on phone or desktop) and send your team a link. You can video chat, call, send messages and screen share. Sessions are limited to 40 minutes in the free plan but you can simply share a new link for more time.
Discord was originally designed for gamers, but the platform is a great way to communicate over voice, video, and text. You will need to set up an account and a Discord group, but if you use it for gaming already, why not try it for your next group collaboration?
These are just a few platforms you can use to bring your team together in this strange time. Ultimately good communication is going to help make working remotely feel less remote. Don’t be afraid to have multiple ways to contact members so you can check in regularly. If you feel separate from your group, talk to them about it. It’s highly likely they feel the same. You can also chat with your tutors or lecturers about any ideas they have to make it easier.
Let us know what has worked for you!
Want to know more about surviving a group assignment?
We loved this article from Deakin University about how they recommend approaching group assignments. Find that here