Online group projects in higher education: persistent challenges and implications for practice

Donelan, Helen and Kear, Karen (2023). Online group projects in higher education: persistent challenges and implications for practice. Journal of Computing in Higher Education (early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-023-09360-7

Abstract

With the rapid adoption of online learning across higher education, there is an urgent need to identify its challenges and ways of addressing them. Online group projects, in particular, present significant issues for educators. This paper presents the findings of a systematic literature review identifying the key challenges of online group projects, together with strategies to address them. From a corpus of 114 recent papers, the 57 most relevant were analysed, to identify themes related to challenges and strategies. Key challenges were: low and uneven participation by students; a lack of clarity and preparation for students; and poor relationships. Strategies for addressing challenges were: careful design of projects, particularly regarding fair assessment; clear guidance and preparation of students; and practical and emotional support throughout, to encourage confidence and engagement. The findings of this review will enable educators to design and facilitate online group projects which students find rewarding and valuable.

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