Student perspective: Effective virtual group studying

Note: This post was written during the covid-19 pandemic. While university teaching is no longer 100% online, online learning is here to stay… whether in the form of online lectures or simply a quick Teams/ Zoom/ Skype call with your project group. So we think this blog post is just as relevant as ever! Now read on…

by Iskandar Bin Suhaimi, Bristol Futures Advocate

Since the lockdown, a lot of teaching and learning has been moved online. This would invariably affect your personal study sessions either with friends or your tutors. In light of this, I have compiled a few pointers on how to make virtual learning more manageable and effective, so read on!

  1. Choose the right platform

Different platforms offer different features. Skype Business has extended features which the University has made free for all students (see: A rising rival to consider is Zoom; solid option in terms of stability. Alternatively, Discord offers interesting templates for studying. No shortage of options here.

  1. Set goals and a structure

The whole of first year my group study was nothing but gossiping and getting distracted. Don’t be me. Instead, try listing down your goals, allow time for discussion, and stick to it. I find using checklists especially helpful in staying focused, and tutorial guides a great starting point in creating a study plan.

  1. Delegate tasks beforehand

Ensure everyone is ready to contribute by assigning work beforehand. You’ll find discussions run more smoothly and you can focus on bolstering each other’s knowledge rather than spend awkward minutes reading silently (trust me – I’ve been there)

  1. Use a shared work platform

Trello is a great platform to centralize your group project materials although I find that it takes a while getting used to. If you prefer simpler technology, Google Drive is the way to go. You’ll be able to access each other’s notes all in one convenient place and it definitely beats having to email each other every time.

  1. Practice good online study etiquette

Turn off your mic when you’re not speaking. Update each other on your progress. Never, directly edit on someone’s original documents. A little courtesy goes a long way.

Most of all, remember that it is a difficult time for everyone so don’t panic if it’s hard to be productive! However, if you’ve managed to do so why not help other students by sharing your own tips?


1 thought on “Student perspective: Effective virtual group studying

  1. Love these suggestions – I find it’s productive to arrange a set time and place each week to meet, so that you get held accountable for working to a timeline – especially since our exams just got released. I’ve never actually used Trello, but might give it a go!

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