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      Group Work and Distance Online Learning in Higher Education – Reflecting on the Covid-19 Experience in the Natural Sciences

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      UnisaRxiv
      UNISA Press
      group work, distance online learning, structured reflection
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            Abstract

            The sudden shift to online education at higher education institutions due to the Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on teaching and learning. For many the “new experience” meant learning or improving on the use of online technology in the distance mode. Although there have been many studies conducted on the impact of the pandemic on higher education, there is a paucity of research on specific pedagogies to mediate learning in the distance context, group work being one of them. This paper presents a reflective analysis of a case study in which group work was a pedagogical strategy used during the lockdown. Data collection involved questionnaires and a part transcript of a group’s mobile synchronous text chat. The data were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively for the open and closed questions, respectively. The findings reveal mobile phones as the most common technological device used, the specific challenge of data and internet access on group work success, and the professional benefit of developing social skills even in a distance online context. The study confirms that group work is a viable pedagogical strategy to mediate distance online learning which requires the expert guidance of the lecturer and reflection by group members to improve their distance online interactions.

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            UnisaRxiv
            UNISA Press
            27 April 2021
            Affiliations
            [1 ] Nature Conservation, Faculty of Science, Mangosuthu University of Technology
            Author notes
            Article
            10.25159/UnisaRxiv/000007.v1
            1543dfac-59a4-4cb0-b66a-f364f5ff2b8c

            This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .


            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
            Education
            group work,distance online learning,structured reflection

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