Study Group, Team, Community Guidelines for Interaction

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As a starting point for creating a learning community or virtual team, you may want to open your group discussion with the following guidelines. The topic might be “Creating Community” or “Organizing a Study Group” or “Laying the groundwork for our team” or whatever is the actual focus for why you are brining this group online. Try to give particular attention to the group’s values and their relevance to your shared purpose.


  1. Members of this group include: (List names below.)


  2. The purpose of the group is to:


  3. The primary tasks of the group are to:


  4. The group’s formal discussion begins on (Date) ______________ and ends on (Date) ___________________.


  5. Any two members of the group who want to extend the dates of the discussion may ask the instructor for permission by explaining the purpose of the extension.


  6. The role of group facilitator will rotate alphabetically through the group, changing at midnight Greenwich Time on Sundays. (e.g., Week 1: Abbott, Week 2: Brown, Week 3: Clark and so on.)


  7. Any member may do a  Harvesting or Weaving  at any time.


  8. Any member may ask a question at any time by posting it in the appropriate discussion forum.


  9. Logistical and content issues will be quickly addressed during live chats scheduled for these dates and times:


    Start-of-Term Chat: (Date:) _____________ (Time:)_______________
    Mid-Term Chat: (Date:) ________________ (Time:)_______________
    End-of-Term Chat: (Date:) _____________ (Time:)________________


  10. Any member of the group may invite others to join him/her in a live chat (for an appropriate purpose) by posting an invitation with sufficient advance notice.
Acceptable Behavior
  1. Members will follow standard rules of netiquette.


  2. Members will follow the participation guidelines described in Volume 2, Chapter 1, of Make the Most of Learning Online and Volume 1, Chapter 6, of Make the Most of Teaching Online.
Shared Values
  1. Privacy.  We value the confidentiality of every word expressed in this group. We repeat what is said here only with the author’s express permission.


  2. Safety. We value a sense of intellectual safety. We strive to make one another feel safe enough to say whatever we really think, no matter how unexpected, so long as it serves our shared purpose of academic inquiry.


  3. Individuality. We value one another’s differing perspectives and respect one another’s right to an opinion different from our own. We listen carefully to all points of view. We demonstrate respect for our differences by approaching them with emotional neutrality.


  4. Collaboration. We value the synergy that occurs when we work together for a common purpose. We strive to put aside competition and embrace collaboration.


  5. Openness. We value the spirit of open inquiry. We acknowledge that few problems have only one “correct” solution and that any one of us may have something to contribute. We strive to remain open to new ideas and possibilities.


  6. Self-Reflection. We value the process of examining our own individual assumptions.


  7. Participation. We value frequent, thoughtful contributions to the group.


  8. Clarity. We value direct requests and explicit agreements and disagreements. We try not to beat around the bush about what we want and believe.


  9. Resolution. We value the process of “clearing the air” when personal disagreements arise. We strive not to let problems fester. At the same time, we respect differences in individual style and timing, and we acknowledge that some disagreements take longer than others to resolve.


  10. Flexibility. We value a willingness to change and we appreciate the sacrifice it sometimes requires.


  11. Creativity. We value inventive approaches to problem-solving as well as the purely aesthetic appeal of some solutions.

Academic Version, Release 3.0