1) Every group member should be allocated a task to report on and ask the tutor for feedback on the points. This allows all members of the group to contribute to group discussions.
2) Your tutor can become like a resource – a kind of computer that needs questions, both specific and more general ones. This allows students to discuss points among each other while the tutor is present.
3) On MSc BASM the students had an open ended assignment on a company that they chose and through virtual teaching the meetings became shorter, much more focused, and more critical. During my individual meetings with students I took the approach of “I’m listening” and this led to my rapport with the students increasing, even more than during the meetings in my office at AMBS.
4) Virtual meetings are more focused. One of the crucial things that characterises work in the virtual environment: it is planned. You set up the meetings, you find your place where you sit, and you create a schedule about your work that you want to discuss with others.
5) Have members of the group take minutes of the meeting (even if the meeting is recorded), it creates a much tighter focus for the work.
6) What I found works the best in groups is when the group moves everything formalised to the usual sphere of Google Drive, One Drive and so on, and keep the rest to the group meetings for uncertainties, for blurred ideas or questions.
7) Finally, it is necessary that groups develop clear routines, and they adhere to them as long as these routines work.
What’s the benefit to virtual learning?
The virtual environment changes the ways in which projects are carried out, but it does not change the fundamentals of the project work. At the same time, the changed ways may create new constraints, heightens or diminishes some of the aspects. The groups become an imitation of a professional team rather than a student team, which helps students develop soft skills, a particularly important aspect on a management related Masters programme.