Collaborative group work in an online environment can be an effective way of engaging students in higher-level learning. There are, however, some significant barriers that may make this kind of work difficult. Some of these are:
Lack of access to high-bandwidth connections or limited data plans,
Lack of a private space to work in an uninterruptible way,
Being located in a different time zone (making synchronous activities difficult),
Challenges in the way students use learning, and
Increases in the amount of time it may take students to complete activities.
Check your expectations for collaborative group work. Perform an inventory of what it might take to accomplish the tasks being assigned.
Provide several models or pathways students can complete the assignment.
Consider the manner in which you grade collaborative group work to take into account the challenges some students may have in contributing to activities.
Communicate with groups regularly to check in and identify challenges early.