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Collaborating Successfully: Teamwork

Collaborating Successfully: Teamwork

The benefits of group work are well recognized (e.g.,, as are the reasons students don’t like working in groups (Taylor, 2011). We have all had groups that operated magically, when group members brought out each other’s strengths and helped each member shine; but we have also had groups that failed miserably when members did not get along or did not pull equal weight in completing a group project. What follows are a few simple ideas you might wish to consider that have worked well for faculty at UC Merced.

Teamwork Materials:

Structured small group activities are a powerful and effective way to promote active learning in existing courses. There are principles involved in the effective use of team-based activities.

  1.  Peer Lead Presentation - Slides for Class This 50 min presentation will introduce the benefits of team-based learning, team conflict management techniques and rationale for the activities below.
  2. Group Resume This activity will help identfy peers' strengths and thus roles they might take during team-based learning.
  3.  Group Contract In team-based learning activities, most students take responsibility of their own and their peers' learning. The group contract will keep everyone accountable for the role peers decide to take in the project.
  4.  Activity Log and Self/Group Assessment Sheet The team-based project will be broken into smaller parts, each part will have deadlines noted in the activity log. The self and group assessment sheet will be completed by peers to assess each others' performance during the project.
  5. Rubric: AAC&U's Teamwork VALUE This rubric is interdisciplinary, and it can be adjusted to specific needs.
  6. Other assessment: University of Illinois, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. Handout with sample activities to assess teamwork . POD Conference Workshop presented by Cheelan Bo-Linn.


Activity to get students think about adopting various team roles:

Carnegie Mellon, Eberly Center: Groups aren't working .

CATME: Smarter Teamwork CATME assessment articles: SAGE Journals

Definition: What is a team? Business Dictionary

Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University: Working in Groups .

Gullo, C.Ha, T.C, Cook, S. (2015) Twelve tips for facilitating team-based learning The Medical Teacher. 37:9. Retreived Sep 15th, 2015.

Idea Paper #39. Millis, Barbara. Enhancing Learning and More! Through Cooperative Learning

Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis Tips for Guiding Successful Group Learning & Tips for Motivating your Students

Lencioni, P. (2014). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Model.

Li-Shih Huang (2014). Students riding on coattails during groupwork? Five simple ideas to try . Faculty Focus. Retreived Sep 29th, 2014.

Michaelsen, L. K., Knight, A., Fink, D. (2002). Team-based learning: A transformative use of small groups. Greenwook Publishing Group, Inc. Westport, CT.

New York Times, Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others .

Phillips, K. (2014) How diversity makes us smarter

Resources in Science and Engineering Education: Richard Felder

Sibley, J., Getting Started with Team-Based Learning: Learn TBL

Sibley, J. Team-based learning [ podcast ]. Teaching in Higher Ed. Retrieved Nov. 9th. Jim Sibley shares about Team-based learning on this episode, some of the common misperceptions about this teaching method, as well as how to get started with it.

Sweet, M. and Michaelsen, L. (2012). Team-Based Learning in the Social Sciences and Humanities: Group Work That Works to Generate Critical Thinking and Engagement. Stylus Publishing, Virginia. Chapter 1, Critical Thinking and Engagement: Creating Cognitive Apprenticeships With Team-Based Learning.

Taylor, A. (2011). Top 10 reasons students dislike working in groups…and why I do it anyway . Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 39(2), 219-220. This link offers step by step guidance on how to implement team-based learning in the classroom.

University of Waterloo: Methods for Assessing Group Work

Theobold, Student perception of group dynamics predicts individual performance

The University of Adelaide. Pedagogical Possibilities for the Professions.

Weimer, Maryellen (2014) Group Work Challenge: Assessing Team members . Faculty Focus

Discipline Specific Resources

STEM Disciplines:

Freeman, S, et al., 2014. Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. 111(23): 8410-8415.

Sibley, J.and Ostafichuk, P., 2014. Getting started with team-based learning: (The new TBL book has many engineering examples in appendix 2. Although the appendix is about reporting strategies, they are mostly output of engineering problems)