Virtual communication for student group projects: the COVID-19 effect



communication process, virtual communication, student group-projects



With higher education forced online, the concept of virtual communication has become the new norm. However, virtuality can bring additional complexity to the communication process which can be problematic for students working on group projects. The objective of our research is to explain how the method of virtual communication can influence the quality of communication for learning and thus impact student-group performance. Qualitative data were gathered using audio, non-participant observation, and interviews on three MSc student groups, pre and post campus lockdown in March 2020 owing to COVID-19. As a result, we identified that face-to-face communication in a synchronous environment is characterized by effective interactions among group members who share ideas, information and clarification while virtual communication in asynchronous environments is less critical, explorative and exploitative. The study’s practical contribution recommends educators guide students towards using synchronous technology for collaborating on group projects. By locating our qualitative study in the research

Author Biographies

Michela Valente, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin

MSc student in Human Resource Management at Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin.

Michelle Ellen MacMahon, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin

Michelle MacMahon is a junior faculty member of Trinity Business School where she is employed on a part-time basis as a Research Fellow. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor with Trinity Business School where she teaches at undergraduate (organisational behaviour to 2nd year students) and postgraduate levels (masters and PhD).