Virtual Study Group Support
Group Study Can Be a Useful Habit
Every level of postsecondary and postgraduate education is challenging, and course expectations can be overwhelming if students attempt everything on their own. Consequently, students who gather together consistently to review the week’s lectures, readings, and assignments (in accordance with the code of academic integrity) may be more on top of their coursework and better able to internalize the material.
Here are a few ways that we are working with students to develop group study habits and strategies.
FGLI Program Study Groups – The Greenfield Intercultural Center
Studying in a comfortable environment with peers who share similar experiences and identities can make a course seem less intimidating. With this in mind, the Weingarten Center collaborates with the Greenfield Intercultural Center to support First-Generation Low-Income (FGLI) students each semester by offering facilitated study groups for two courses based on demand. We are very fortunate to have faculty support each semester as well.
Peer Guided Study Groups – Wharton Undergraduate Advising
This semester, Learning Resources and Tutoring Services worked with Wharton Undergraduate Advising to support their existing methods for study group organization. In particular, peer facilitators from the Joseph Wharton Scholars Program and Wharton Successful Transition and Empowerment Program (STEP) have been prepared with guidelines and resources for group development and effective group study activities.
Support for Your Own Study Group
Given the critictal importance of motivation in the context of remote learning, we encourage you to consider starting your own study groups.
- Study groups multiply your resources. A combination of observations and ideas means more resources to draw upon.
- A more effective communicator is a more effective learner. Discussing forces us to clarify ideas, evaluate others’ ideas, and further develop them.
- Study groups can help develop critical thinking skills. When working with a group, you internalize not only facts and concepts but higher order thinking skills (analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating) as well.
Common Challenges of Study Groups
While these are great reasons to start studying with a group, it is fair to acknowledge some of the reasons why students may be hesitant to get started. Some of the common challenges with study groups involve setting clear expectations and developing a strong group dynamic. If everyone is not aware of the expectations of the group, it is easy for students to get distracted and even to feel unsafe. Another set of challenges is related to whether or not the study group has created a space for learning.
The Study Group Toolkit
To help address these challenges, Learning Resources and Tutoring Services are developing a Study Group Toolkit. Below are some of the tips you will find there:
- Keep study groups to 3 – 5 students.
- Set clear expectations about the day, time, and purpose of each study group session.
- Focus your first session on identifying expectations for group interaction using the Group Contract.
- Become aware of the thoughts you have about yourself, your abilities, and how you approach the course.
- Work with your group to develop a growth mindset toward your course material.
- Choose study activities that will train higher order thinking skills.
In addition to this document, learning instructors are available to talk through the challenges of starting and maintaining study groups through virtual appointments. Please feel free to schedule an appointment by calling our office at 215-573-9235.