“Many students cringe and groan when told that they will need to work in a group. However, group work has been found to be good for students and good for teachers. Employers want college graduates to have developed teamwork skills. Additionally, students who participate in collaborative learning get better grades, are more satisfied with their education, and are more likely to remain in college.” – Alison Burke
Complex Decision Making
Effective group assignments simply give groups a set of data and require them to make a difficult decision, much like a courtroom jury is given a great deal of complex information and asked to render a “guilty or not guilty” decision.
Complex Problem Solving
Ask students to solve a problem to complex for them to solve individually, a problem that requires them to tap into their collective knowledge and talents, requiring joint effort (eg prepare for a product launch, redesign a nearby derelict urban site or role-play a public inquiry)
By assigning specific roles to students you help ensure that everyone is participating. Asking students to draw on the diverse skills in the group (for example, a strong organizer who finds oral presentations difficult or someone with statistical skills who writes grammatically incorrect English) and provide evidence they have done so.
- Alison Burke (Southern Oregon University): How to Use Group Work Effectively (.pdf)
- Sharon Thomson (eLearning Industry): 6 Online Collaboration Tools and Strategies For Boosting Learning
- The Higher Education Academy: Group Work (.pdf)
- University of Florida: Resource Guide for Team Projects (.pdf)
- Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D. (Faculty Focus): A Memo to Students on College and the Real World
- Brigitte Vittrup, Ph.D. (Faculty Focus): How to Improve Group Work: Perspectives from Students