Group Roles

Group work

This KB document is part of a larger collection of documents on collaborative group work. More Group Work documents

Roles students can play during group work activities

Possible Roles on Teams

Student teams often function most effectively when members have designated roles. These can be instructor-determined or established by the groups themselves, e.g., by giving teams a list such as the one below and asking them to decide on and delegate appropriate roles within their group. The roles you — or your students — assign will depend on the goals of the assignment, the size of the team, etc. They can be fixed or rotated. Here are some possible group roles, but the list is not exhaustive. Think creatively and come up with your own!

These roles are adapted from lists in:

Barkley, E.F., Cross, K.P., & Major, C.H. (2005). Collaborative learning techniques. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., and Smith, K. (1991). Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4). Washington, DC: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.

Millis, B. J., and Cottell, P. G., Jr. (1998). Cooperative learning for higher education faculty. American Council on Education, Series on Higher Education. The Oryx Press, Phoenix, AZ.

Smith, K. A. (1996). "Cooperative Learning: Making 'Group work' Work" In Sutherland, T. E., and Bonwell, C. C. (Eds.), Using active learning in college classes: A range of options for faculty, New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 67.