If you are implementing group projects in your class, check-ins are extremely helpful for your students to stay engaged and on track. Oftentimes, students feel overwhelmed when a project runs throughout the entire semester — this requires advance planning that they might not think about in the first few weeks.
Organizing check-in meetings with students will incentivize them to work towards a certain goal, while also allowing you to cater your advice and help them advance in the right direction. Moreover, check-ins are opportunities for students to engage with you more. Research has shown that students who can connect with their instructors tend to perform better and learn more effectively. A quick check-in for 15 to 30 minutes could resolve a lot of questions for your students.
With that in mind, let’s walk through the steps of how you can conduct an effective check-in with students.
Decide when and how you will conduct the check-in
Projects that span many weeks may require multiple milestones to keep students on track. However, it is unnecessary to check in on them at every milestone. You can choose to conduct check-ins once (mid-project) or twice, depending on the nature of your course and your schedule.
In-person check-ins are recommended to increase engagement and participation. However, this might not be ideal when both you and your students’ schedules are busy later in the term. This is when our familiarity with video conferencing comes in handy. Online check-ins are more flexible, and you can still utilize the right platforms to communicate.
If you are using a project management tool like Ensightful for your course, you can also utilize it for check-ins. Since you and your students share a common task board and files, this will simplify the process of sharing team progress, as we’ll go into more details later on.
Once you have decided on when and how you will conduct the check-in, communicate your expectations for check-ins early on in the semester and send out a sign-up sheet for your students.
Remind your students to be prepared
Make sure to send your students a reminder a few days before your check-ins. You can also remind them to prepare questions in advance to make the most of your meetings.
Utilize the right tools during the check-in
During the check-in, this is your chance to guide students through any challenges they might have. It is also a great time to learn about what you, as an instructor, can do better to help them stay on track and motivated.
During these check-in sessions, Ensightful can be used to show the entire team’s progress. For example, you can ask the students to share their screens and show the percentage of workload completed. The task board will display your students’ most recent progress so far, so you can follow the workflow together. Determine which ones of the tasks might require additional review or feedback from you to continue the project.
You can also leave comments/feedback on students’ tasks and view shared files.
For more tips on how you can coordinate with your students during the check-in on Ensightful, check out this resource video: