Even when students are not together in the classroom, they can still work collaboratively in groups by meeting in virtual breakout rooms, collaborating in shared documents, or communicating by text message or email. Assigning students particular roles can be an effective way to structure group work, and it is especially important for students to have clearly defined roles and tasks in remote environments, since you will likely not be present during group discussions to monitor students’ progress and answer questions. Assigning roles helps distribute responsibilities among group members and ensures that students can organize their group discussion independently. The following guidance for creating roles can help students complete group work in virtual breakout rooms.
Ask students to submit an exit card with their reflections on their experiences working in groups. Which roles do they feel most comfortable in? Which are most challenging for them? Students may also have ideas about new roles that should be created.
If you are teaching in a face-to-face setting, use our original Assigning Roles for Group Work strategy.
Designed for remote settings, this discussion strategy is especially useful when having conversations about controversial topics.