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  • Writer's pictureKelly Cowan

Group Study: What Works

Updated: Aug 31, 2021


If you've landed here you may be interested in helping your students use their own study time more efficiently. Research shows that group study, deployed properly, can overcome several issues first-generation or under-resourced students may experience in the college classroom. And even well-prepared students benefit substantially. Some of the obstacles that group study can overcome are:

1) students with less advanced reading proficiency

2) sense of isolation that many first-generation students experience

3) instructors' "expert bias" that can lead them not to be the most effective conveyors of information (see

4) students only engaging with the material at "crunch time"

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gets you started.

The problem is that when students are left on their own with little direction for group study, it can be un- (or even counter-) productive. So giving you students some guidelines for how to spend this valuable time together (or virtually together) can be of great benefit to them.

In my classes, I give students information and choices about how to use their group time. Serendipitously, I am the author of their textbook, so in every chapter of the textbook I have provided them a blueprint for how to use their group study time - specifically for that chapter's content.

Feel free to steal this, copy this, insert your own content, etc. It's from the "Diseases of the Skin and Eyes" chapter of my book : ) (Microbiology: A Systems Approach, 6th ed. McGraw-Hill Education, 2021).

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