Tips for Online Study Groups

Woman at laptop talking to other students in an online meeting

Studying is key to success in any program. While your style of study might differ depending on your program, it is important that you adopt and maintain good study habits. 

Have you ever tried forming a study group? A study group is when peers meet to discuss and help each other with a particular subject. This strategy can help you to better understand course material as well as help you to form positive study habits. This is something you can do even in the context of online learning!

Tips for forming online study groups

1. Try to keep it small

To keep organizing things simple, try not to let your study group get too big. Between 3 to 5 people is an ideal study group!

2. Choose a time to meet

Finding a time that works for everyone can be tricky. If you can, it is best to set a weekly meeting time that is consistent so that it becomes a part of your routine.

3. Keep the meetings short

Regular study sessions are the best way to maintain consistent study habits. Setting up weekly study sessions that are between 45-60 minutes will help you and your peers to not feel overwhelmed by the content you have to cover.

4. Choose a place to meet

While you won’t have a physical place to meet, it is important to choose an online platform that is convenient for everyone. As a Mohawk College student, you have access to Microsoft Teams and Zoom for video conferencing. You may also wish to use online collaboration tools such as Office 365 or MyCanvas Collaboration Tools (if your instructor has enabled this function for your course).

Consistency is key with your meeting place as well. Using the same online meeting platform each week means that everyone will become familiar with how to use that platform’s many features.

5. Have a session moderator

When you are engaging in online study sessions, it is best to have a moderator (someone who hosts the meeting). Members of the study group can take turns being the moderator. A moderator helps to keep the study session focused by setting an agenda (based on the plan decided by the group) and keeping the group on track during the session.

6. Decide on a purpose/set a plan

As a group, decide on a plan for each study session. This should be decided before the study session starts. You may want to use 5 minutes at the end of each study session to develop a plan for your next meeting. Alternatively, the session facilitator for that week could send out an email to the group to gather ideas for the agenda or you could use an online collaboration tool to gather ideas (e.g. Office 365MyCanvas Collaboration Tools).

Your plan could include identifying and understanding key concepts, completing practice questions, reviewing assignment guidelines, etc. Setting session goals is a great way to keep the group focused!

7. Set rules

In order to reduce the chance of conflict, make sure to establish rules for acceptable behaviour and post topics. Remember, as a Mohawk College student you are expected to contribute to a positive and safe learning environment as per the Student Behaviour Policy PDF (2.7mb). From the very start, it is important to establish expectations to ensure professional and collegial relationships in your group and help the group reach its goals! For some examples of values to build from, check out this resource on Netiquette (online etiquette).

8. Stay focused

If you can, find a quiet place to work when you are engaging in the study group. Try to get rid of distractions such as being logged into your social media accounts. 

Hopefully you find these tips help you to form, organize, and facilitate your own study group. The sooner you start your study group, the more you will benefit from this study strategy!

Happy online group studying!

For more tips and study strategies

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The above tips were derived from the following resources: