The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to explore remote teaching and learning activities. While many universities/colleges are welcoming students, faculty, and staff back to campus, there are still many including other occupations (~72%) that are working remotely. The “new normal” of working in virtual/hybrid teams are anticipated to be around in some way shape or form post-pandemic in higher education.
Here are a few suggestions faculty can do to make student virtual/hybrid teams effective:
1. Effective Communication
Clear, open, honest, and transparent communication is imperative to making in-person teams work well, but also virtual teams. Many suitable platforms can facilitate communication such as Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams in real-time can be selected to meet the needs of the team, in addition to learning management systems (LMS). Effective communication from faculty provides students clarity on what is expected of them to be successful in the class, tackles expectations of roles and responsibilities of projects, team engagement, and participation. Students can be best engaged by coming to class prepared. Bi-directional effective communication between faculty and students bolsters a positive learning environment. , group reflection and dialogue about strengths, improvements, and insights to work effectively together are critical to the acquisition and application of critical concepts and the advancement of the team. Effective communication leads to improved engagement and professionalism and thus climate and culture.
2. Positive Climate and Culture
The alignment of the faculty perception of the teaching and learning work environment (climate) and the character values, attitudes, and beliefs of the institution/organization (culture) are imperative to faculty and student satisfaction, retention/attrition, engagement, and performance in K-12 schools and higher education. This name idea can be applied to student course environments. Students who have positive classroom/course/institution climates and cultures have improved engagement, self-presentation, and achievement. Faculty who recognize student engagement, achievement, and gratitude while including employees are receiving expressions of gratitude through meritocratic systems, trust, and autonomy to get the work done, and provide a physically, emotionally, and psychologically safe environment for individuals to collaboratively thrive in.
3. Proactive Engagement
Having the autonomy to learn study/work-from-home has its benefits and drawbacks. Truth be told, it’s not for everyone; however, faculty can help students overcome some of the barriers to can be addressed through proactive engagement. Active participation must be encouraged for effective virtual teamwork. Virtual leaders must By designing engaging learning experiences where invite student teams team members to collaborate in accomplishing shared work goals and wellness, recognize others for their contributions, and productively manage conflict, faculty sets students up for success in the short- and long term. Employee engagement accounts for increased employee retention, satisfaction, and recruitment, ultimately leading to increased profitability and success. Similarly, student engagement is known to bolster student success and achievement.
Team-based learning (TBL) is an active learning strategy that provides learners opportunities to acquire, develop, and practice effective communication, teamwork, and engagement leading to increased learner achievement. InteDashboard provides the tools necessary to easily implement in any educational and training environment. The flexibility of the platform allows for synchronous and asynchronous instruction and utility under face-to-face and virtual learning conditions making communication, collaboration, and engagement seamless.
As we continue to navigate our way towards a post-COVID era, challenge yourself to make meaningful contributions to your virtual work environments by making your team members feel valued and respected through virtual “face-to-face” meetings, teaming initiatives, and providing a place of belonging for individuals, teams, and the organization to succeed.