Create a Study Group | University of Portland

Create a Study Group

Use your Peer Power! You can create study groups, and the Learning Commons is here to help you succeed in connecting with your peers because we can study collaboratively and together.

Use this guide to support the creation of your study groups for some or all your courses this semester.

Why form an online or in-person Study Group?

Study groups provide connection. They also give you ample opportunity to practice and apply concepts you’re learning in class and to build communication and collaboration skills that are important in college and in your careers. They help you build routines and habits of thinking together. Additionally, you can use study groups to preview for a class, process concepts and problems after a class, and develop questions for class sessions or faculty office hours.

How can I get my Study Group up and running?

There are two parts to the answer to this question. First, you need to get a group of peers from your class on board with you. This may involve reaching out individually or asking the professor if you can announce in a session that you want to create a study group.

Once you have your group, you need to figure out your platform. As UP students, your groups members have Microsoft Teams and Zoom accounts. Teams allows for storing files and easy messaging with each other between your study group sessions. Zoom offers nice breakout group and annotation tools. You can also explore other platforms such as Discord.

How big should my Study Groups be?

Keep it manageable. A group size of four, five, or six allows for doing some breakout group work. Groups that are too small can become stale fast, and groups that are too big can begin to feel anonymizing.

How often will we meet?

That’s up to you and your peers. Once a week might be enough, but when you have tests coming up, you may want to meet more.

How can I ensure our Study Group works for all members?

Success for all requires planning. We suggest that your first meeting be about process. Together you can discuss and document your answers to questions such as:

  • What goals do we have as a study group?
  • When and how frequently will we meet?
  • How long will our study group sessions be?
  • How will we stay in contact with each other?
  • What platform will we use? Teams? Zoom?
  • What are our norms and expectations? (See below)
  • How should everyone prepare for our study group sessions?
  • How will we go about deciding what to do in our study group sessions?

What can I do to support everyone’s learning in my Study Group?

Plan. Without a plan, groups will falter. Start sessions by planning backwards:

  • What do we want to come away with at the end our study group today? (For example, “We will be able to summarize the reading and develop a list of questions for our next class.”)
  • How will we know we’ve reach are goals? (“We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our summary and questions.”)
  • What activities can we do to reach our goals? (“We divide the reading into parts and summarize. We work in breakout rooms then come together. We relate this text to other material in the class. We brainstorm questions directly related to the text that we genuinely can’t answer.”)
  • In general, engaging in collaborative work will help you and your peers the most. Elaborating on what you are doing or reading is important and can be done well in small groups or pairs first and then in the whole group.

Use the technology to your advantage. For example, divide up in breakout groups instead of doing everything the whole time in one large group. Use whiteboards, Google Docs, Google Jamboard, Zoom or Teams polls, Zoom annotations, etc. Also, check these strategies for groups that our colleagues at OSU published.

What are some norms for Study Groups?

Examples include the expectations that members show up on time, take turns, inclusive, actively participate, ask questions, and so on. The norms conversation should happen in your first meeting. Try inviting one of our Group Work Co-Pilots to help your groups strengths and values.

Can we invite Co-Pilots to help us in our Study Group?

YES! Our tutors and writing assistants can support your study group by facilitating discussions and sharing their knowledge on using technology platforms that they are familiar with. Remember that our tutors work in the areas of math, sciences, languages, nursing, econ and business, and speech and presentation.

Co-Pilots use an online scheduling program to schedule tutoring services.

Click on the link below to schedule an appointment with a Co-Pilot.

Co-Pilot Appointments


Still need help creating a group?

Contact us at with the subject line "Need help creating a study group".



Every Pilot Needs a Co-Pilot