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Group work is difficult for many students, particularly where a single mark or grade is awarded to the outcome. Personal differences between group members (eg ethnicity, disability, age, religion, previous educational experience) are often a source of anxiety and stress, and sometimes hostility. Speakers of English as a second language may feel disadvantaged. Anyone who is in a minority within a group can feel excluded or unwelcome.
At its best group work can be a rewarding opportunity for students to develop skills in collaboration, communication, time management and presentation that are transferable to the workplace.
Many students will have little experience of working in groups, and may not see this as a legitimate learning experience.
eg comparative studies, a global marketing campaign, impact assessment.
Summative assessment can be a source of anxiety in group work.
Conflict is inevitable in all groups, and is likely to be more significant in a more diverse group. Anticipate it.
Electronic collaboration in group work