Medicine Learning and Teaching Forum 2012 - Online Projects

From Embryology
Dr Mark Hill

Online Projects

Wednesday 7 December 2012 - Developing online student group project work.

Group Project - Time to relax while you watch someone who cares do all the work. How to get a group to work?


This presentation will discuss the experiences in developing small science student group projects (3 to 5 students) that are prepared online in an interactive manner throughout the semester. This group assessment item replaced a previous poster presentation project. This assessment has now been running for a number of years, and the current presentation will describe the pedagogy of this assessment as well as associated practical issues. Key practical issues discussed include: initial tutorials to train students, literature researching strategies, copyright issues, plagiarism and peer assessment.


Medicine computer lab (small)
Medicine computer lab (large)

This assessment has now been running for a number of years, and the current presentation will describe the pedagogy of this assessment as well as how the iterations of these projects have allowed fine tuning of the "process".

  • Pedagogically
    • Collaboration - Communication - Responsibility - Teamwork.
    • I see great value in designing group assessment items for students as this really tests their ability to work collaboratively and to determine their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of others, in a team environment.
    • Please note that many students initially do not like this form of assessment, as it relies on them making to much of an "ongoing contribution" (more work than they intended) and they are also concerned about project "free riders" (academic plagiarism).
  • In the past
    • Designing group assessment items often involved working inside practical class times, or preparation of posters/talks on a specific topic either inside class times or with an option for some independent work outside those times.
    • I have previously used both these techniques in designing course assessments.
  • Currently
    • I have designed a semester-long group assessment project that allows students an option to work together over an extended period researching topics that relate directly to the course goals.
    • There are many different components to this project process, and given the limited time for my presentation, I will only be able to touch on a few key concepts outlined in the abstract.
    • Note that there is also a Medicine online group assessment project, that works a little differently in structure from the model described here.

Further details and links are made available here for you to explore further in your own time, and I am always happy to respond to emailed questions.

--Mark Hill 11:32, 27 November 2012 (EST)

Project Design

  • Students are introduced to group project in the first lecture when going through the course outline.

Project Timeline

Project timeline.png

Semester Weeks

  • Week 2 - Introduction to assessment (group and individual), previous examples, topics, resources, plagiarism, student questions. Group design Online Assessment
  • Week 3 - Project tutorials, referencing, referencing resources, copyright, adding an image, topic selection. Allocated groups ANAT2341 References
  • Week 4 - Sub-headings, allocation of individual student work. How's the group working? Editing
  • Week 5 - Topic concept area progress. Problems?
  • Week 6 - Project work. Initial assessor feedback
  • Week 7 - Project work. Pulling your weight?
  • Week 8 - Project work. In-class presentations and assessor feedback.
  • Week 9 - Peer assessment process.
  • Week 10 - Project update in response to peer comments.
  • Week 11 - Project locked to students. Individual student feedback on group.
  • Week 12 - Final Assessment.

Practical Issues


Training Tutorials

The following collapsed tables provide starting points for students during project work, you also have tutorials built into practical classes and practice exercises for individual assessmet items.

Literature Researching Strategies

  • Identify key resource journals - content use.
  • Key concepts.
  • Historic vs current research topics.
  • Outside of the research literature - textbooks, research laboratories, other resources.


Copyright Tutorial | For Students


Student Advice

Currently all students originally assigned to each group are listed as equal authors/contributors to their project. If you have not contributed the content you had originally agreed to, nor participated in the group work process, then you should contact the course coordinator immediately and either discuss your contribution or request removal from the group author list. Remember that all student online contributions are recorded by date, time and the actual contributed content. A similar email reminder of this information was sent to all current students.

UNSW Advice: Policy regarding Plagiarism

In particular this example:

"Claiming credit for a proportion of work contributed to a group assessment item that is greater than that actually contributed;"

Academic Misconduct carries penalties. If a student is found guilty of academic misconduct, the penalties include warnings, remedial educative action, being failed in an assignment or excluded from the University for two years.

Please also read Copyright Tutorial with regard to content that can be used in your project.

Coordinator feedback: 2011 Project 3 example | Embryology

Peer Assessment

Project timeline.png

Student Advice

ANAT2341 Embryology Lab 8 - Online Assessment | ANAT2341 Cell Biology Lab 8 - Online Assessment

Individual assessment this week relates to your group project.

  1. Each student should now look at each of the other Group projects in the class.
  2. Next prepare a critical assessment (should include both positive and negative issues) of each project using the project assessment criteria.
  3. This assessment should be pasted without signature on the top of the specific project's discussion page (minimum length 3-5 paragraphs/project).
  4. This critical assessment should also be pasted on your own student page. Each student should therefore have 5 separate reports pasted on their own page for this assessment item. Length, quality and accuracy of your reports will be part of the overall mark for this assessment (there will be a greater loading on this than simple question assessments).

Student Example: Cell Biology | Embryology

Concluding Remarks

I hope from this presentation you can see what is required to make online group projects really work. This includes a gradual evolution of timelines, ongoing feedback strategies and realistic student goals.

Key identified components have been:

  1. Tutorials that are well structured both online and in-class.
  2. Monitoring groups how they are progressing and providing feedback.
  3. Monitoring individuals how each member in a group is contributing.
  4. Peer assessment allowing students to assess others work and then allowing groups to improve their final submission based upon this process.

Given the brief time available for this presentation, I would suggest that you open the various collapsed tables and links shown on this current page for reading in your own time.


External Links

Glossary Links

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2020, October 21) Embryology Medicine Learning and Teaching Forum 2012 - Online Projects. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2020, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G