It is true; organising students into presentation groups can be a nightmare. However, with some clever use of UTSOnline, it doesn’t have to be this way. Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning), of UTS’ School of Life Sciences Associate Professor Andrea Leigh, has discovered a really easy and reliable way of organising students into presentation groups before she even gets to meet them! Andrea does this using 3 simple but effective steps.

Step 1 – Create groups in UTSOnline

It is crucial to set up self-enrol groups in UTSOnline and name each group according to the associated presentation topic. This way students see presentation topics, the week or due date and the maximum number of students allowed to present on the specific topic.

I suggest the following:capture-01


  1. Create and set groups as self-enrolment – see how to do this here
  2. Set a limit to students per group
    • Divide the student cohort up by the number of presentations available and use this number to guide how many students can present on any topiccapture-02
  3. Name each group according to presentation topic and due date
    • Week 2: Presentation topic

The naming and set up of groups for this purpose is very particular, so please book a consultation with your faculty Learning Technologist if you need support.

Step 2 – Announce presentation enrolments

Once you have setup groups, communication! Make several announcements prior to week 1 alerting students that they need to self-enrol into the topic they wish to present. Make it very very clear: first in, best dressed! This is my recommendation. It is also possible to announce the date when the groups will be open for self-enrolment if you wish to give students a heads up so they are informed about what needs to be done. If going with the latter approach, I would suggest highlighting presentation topics so your students can plan their own session strategy.

Step 3 – Watch students organise themselves while gearing up for lectures and tutorials, or readying oneself for the next season of Game of Thrones 😉

Put your feet up and watch students self-enrol into presentation topics before you even begin the teaching period. This will alleviate the administration headaches – maybe not 100% of them – one might come to expect when trying to organise students into presentation topics.

This is another online tip you can apply in your subject to move administrative face to face activities online, to make more more time for focused discussion. Share your thoughts on this approach, have you tried it before? What were your experiences? Leave a comment below about what happened in your classroom, and what you feel are the pros and cons. Alternatively, read this post on blogging for another tip on how to prepare students for face-to-face classroom discussions before tutorials take place.

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