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Two students studying with one laptop

15 April 2021

How to build a successful online study group

How do you connect with an online study group? Having a study group is a great way to learn more about a topic, explore new ideas and keep yourself motivated. When you’re meeting with a study group online, it’s even more important to put effort into the group to make sure it stays productive.

Learning how to work with your study group online will help you develop valuable skills for future work places and other aspects of your life. Get the most out of your online study group by following these tips.

Choose how you’re going to connect

There are plenty of online platforms you can use to collaborate with your study group. It’s a good idea to make contact with your group and decide together which platform you want to use to communicate with each other. You can learn more about some of the different Deakin-supported platforms, as well as a few industry leaders, on our collaborating online webpage.

Write an agenda

Having a list of what you’re going to cover in the session can help keep your discussions on track. Pick someone in the group to put together an agenda and put it in a shared document.

It doesn’t have to be a lengthy document, just a few bullet points listing what readings you’re going to cover, what assessments you’re going to discuss and how much time you’ll spend on each.

It might be worth putting in some time to catch up at the start to make sure you don’t take up the session with small talk. The agenda can be shared with the group a few days before the session to give everyone the chance to get prepared.

Moderate your session

Think about choosing a group member to be a moderator for each session. It doesn’t have to be the same person every session – you can take turns. When you’re discussing a topic that people are passionate about, it can sometimes be difficult for everyone to get their opinions heard. Sometimes you have the opposite problem and the conversation needs to be nudged into starting. Either way, a moderator can help direct the flow of the conversation to make sure each member has a chance to talk about their ideas.

A moderator is particularly important if you’re meeting using a group video chat, where it’s easy to accidentally talk over someone. Think about using an emoji of a raised hand to keep track of who wants to speak next.

Be open to other people’s opinions

The most important part of a study group is listening to other people’s ideas and concepts. The whole point is to expose yourself to new opinions and deepen your understanding of a topic. Make sure you give people space to talk and actively listen to what they have to say. You can still disagree, just make sure you do so in a respectful way.

Ready to find a study group?

If you’d like to meet some peers to study with, you can begin by posting in your unit discussion forums or introducing yourself in the Life @ Deakin facebook group.

To get started, you could create a post and let everyone know what you’re studying and what you’re hoping to get from joining the group. There’ll be a lot of students in a similar situation who can share their experiences and provide advice. If you want, you can let everyone know what area you’re from and find some students who are studying close by. You can also use the ‘search this group’ function to search for course names, unit names and codes to find other classmates who are looking to make a connection.

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