Hartwell, et al.

Designing Group Work in Online Courses to Develop Preservice Teachers’ Professional Collaboration Skills

Amber Hartwell, University of Calgary
Christy Thomas, Ambrose University
Barbara Brown, University of Calgary 
Bruna Nogueira, University of Calgary



With postsecondary institutions increasing offerings of online courses, there is much to learn about how online group work is designed to support collaborative learning, particularly for professional certification programs such as education. As part of a case study research, we synthesized data collected from instructors and students at two Canadian postsecondary institutions offering online courses in their Bachelor of Education degree pathways. Results suggest four design considerations to help support instructors when planning learning activities involving online group work: (1) clearly articulate the purpose of group work, (2) provide learner support through teaching presence, (3) be intentional in how groups are established, and (4) leverage digital tools for collaboration.

Keywords: group work, online learning, preservice teachers, teaching methods, instructional design, case study research

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