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Tips for starting a study group

We look at the benefits of setting up a group and some handy tools to share and collaborate with.

Written by Lucy Bodenham |

Using Skype to study with fellow students
Sandarenua and Sarasi both met at a Teaching Centre in Colombo and were studying for the LLB and used Skype once a week to motivate one another.

If you find it challenging to study on your own via distance learning then consider finding a study buddy or set up a study group with fellow students. An online friend can help you motivate one another plus provide support when it comes to revising for exams.

Soncike lives in Canada and her study partner lives in Italy, there is a 6 hour time difference so she uses a schedule for calls and advises splitting the workload up. The duo each choose certain chapters from their study material to be responsible for.

The discussion forums on your programme's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a good starting point to find a partner or send out a call to join a group. Access the VLE via the Student Portal. Or go onto our LinkedIn channel to engage with your fellow students.

One of our student’s, Iman connected with fellow students via a VLE forum and from that set up a Skype group for each of the modules for BSc Politics and International Relations.

Iman said the hardest part was dealing with different time zones. The group persisted and managed to Skype call once a week. It worked best with two to five people and then they used the VLE forums to post follow ups. Iman's top tip was to come prepared to the Skype meetings to make the most of the time.

Read Iman’s blog post 'We are not alone', sessions proved very productive and are certainly worth the effort and time.

Useful collaborative tools

If you follow blogs, publications or videos, Feedly will keep you up to date on your topics and save much time scanning websites for subject matter. Its free and pulls in all the feeds together in one simple, handy place and you can set up notification alerts.

IDroo enables you to present information in real time on an online whiteboard for demonstrations. You can then share the URL with others and you can instantly collaborate.

If you want to share some of your research tips and journals with fellow students use! to create a web page to share your content.

Scoop it is a publishing platform with clever browser based curating tools enabling you to compile content in one place. You might be collating information about specific topics, say Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement for your history degree.

Once you have gathered your topics there are various sharing functionalities enabling you to share your research with your fellow students.

You can even use to create a lightweight blog with automated content which will require little maintenance.

Sandarenua and Sarasi both met at a Teaching Centre in Colombo and were studying for the LLB and used Skype once a week to motivate one another.

A helpful tool on Skype for collaborating on study sessions is Screen Sharing, ideal for working together on projects. Judit writes about choosing your study partner, including her top tips and exam questions.

Lastly look at the Skype features for other useful options plus how to setup if you are new to Skype.

Sonicke: I can honestly tell you, having a study a partner is a must. To me, it was life-saving. My study partner lives in Italy and I live in Canada. You can imagine the logistics of setting up regular sessions between us.