When students work in teams, they can develop a set of interpersonal skills that will benefit them in the workplace. And faculty know that when students work in teams, they can create more complex, authentic projects where students engage in higher level thinking skills, such as problem solving. Research has also shown that students working in cooperative teams to solve problems outperform individuals competing with each other. Team projects can also reduce the grading load at the end of the semester, allowing you to focus your efforts on providing quality, meaningful feeedback.
Students have valid reasons for resisting team projects, but with careful planning, direct guidance and monitoring, these problems can largely be avoided.
The Procrastinators - their last minute efforts can seriously drag down the quality of the final product.
The Free Riders/Social Loafers - one person ends up doing most of the work.
Scheduling out of class meetings is very difficult, due to different class schedules, work and family commitments.
The topic or project just isn't interesting or motivating to the student.
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Group Work and Roles - includes role descriptions
Team assessment and peer assessments: examples from Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence at Penn State
Sample project tools: Includes skills inventories, self, peer & group assessments, team contracts from the Carnegie Mellon U. Eberly Center.
Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams, Oakley, et al Journal of Student Centered Learning, V2, No 1, 2014. Appendix includes sample forms for team policies, contracts, peer ratings, team evaluation
TEAMMATES – free online tool for managing student peer evaluations/feedback
Google drive - for collaborative creation and editing of documents. Note: students cougars email is a gmail account, so they do not need to create an account.
Zoom webconferencing- downloading and recording
Free tools & Apps for Student Presentations and Projects
Lucidchart - free online tool for creating mind maps, org. charts, flow charts, etc.
You'll want to provide your students with instructions on how to use the tools. You
can set any of these activities to groups, so each team will have their own private
Setting up forums
OuWiki Chat - unlike the other tools, this activity occurs in real-time. The chat can be saved for later review.
Feedback Activity - to share their peer evaluations with students, you would need to do a bit of work
- export the results to excel, sort by student reviewed, then provide to the student
Workshop - this is a very powerful peer assessment tool. You can set up a rubric or set of criteria and assign grades for both the student being assessed, and the assessor. Evaluations can be anonymous.
Better Group Work Experiences Begin with how the Groups are Formed
Using Group Projects Effectively
Best practices for designing group projects
Faculty Guide to Team Projects - U. of Minnesota