Suggestions for Leading Study Teams

When I was in a study team as a student, we used Google doc. as a platform for our team to collaborate, and it worked for us really well. Since then, I have utilized Google Doc. for my past three study teams at the center, and the students agreed that it has been really helpful for them. As a result, I would like to share some experiences on utilizing Google doc. in study teams.

There are a lot of readings assigned for students in Global Issues course, so I thought that it would be beneficial for the students if we could assign readings to each student before our sessions. Everyone would write a reading summary, which would be shared on the Google doc. so that everyone could read them to prepare discussions in sessions. Therefore, students would not have that many readings to read individually. Each student would lead the discussion of the readings, which are assigned to them. In addition, the students also could use those summaries as exam review sources in the future. However, before using this method, it’s very significant to ask your students’ opinions about whether or not they would like to do reading summaries weekly because some of students prefer to do all the readings by themselves.

One of the most important utilizations of Google doc. in study team is for exam review. Most of the professors would give students either a review sheet or an outline for each topic that they have discussed in the class. My study team would usually copy and paste the outlines into our shared document, so everyone could add information and explanations to those outlines, which contain key terms, and discussion topics for the exam. This method helped students save a lot of time and promoted interaction between students. Even after our session, I have heard of groups of students gathering together. Also, my current students believe that this method of studying for exams has benefited them a lot.

Furthermore, some of Global Issues professors have a lot of lecture notes. However, some of students could not get everything during the class because of the fast pace. Other students who have made complete notes could share their notes on our shared document. As a result, everyone could have complete course notes, and get access to those notes for exam reviews.

Getting everyone’s participation is very important in Global Issues study teams. When I was in a team myself, I was a quiet student at the beginning and did not really know what to say. However, the utilization of Google doc. and the questions directly asked to me by the team leaders (which allowed me to share my opinions first) helped me a lot to be part of team. I also had opportunities to make contributions in reading summaries and discussions because I prepared for each session. There are a lot of students who are very quiet or shy to speak up first. They need time to think and get used to the group settings, just like I did. Give students time, let them think, and direct questions to those less comfortable in group settings.

This leads to another suggestions, which is sending out an outline of what the meeting will be about at the beginning of each team session. As a student, this also helped me to prepare for the sessions and showed me that my coach really paid attention to us. (This is something I continued to do later in my study teams.) Personally, I think that this would motivate students a lot.

– Yudan Lurong, 12/16/2015

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