Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Faculty Development Constituency Committee
This Work-in-Progress paper details our extensive experience with a student workshop model and ongoing analysis of data collected in the workshops. At the [institution’s] [teaching and learning organization], our primary activity is instructional consultation with faculty, but we also frequently guest-present a workshop for students entitled “Teamwork for learning and project success.” Engineering faculty invite us to present this workshop in a wide range of group-project courses.
The workshop’s immediate, practical objective is to help students begin group work on the right footing. The fundamental emphasis, however, is on seeing group projects (at least in school) primarily as a context and vehicle for learning. Our experience suggests that both students and faculty tend to see efficient project completion, quality of work, and realistic preparation for professional life as the primary reasons for doing course projects in groups. While valid, none of these reasons alludes to the fact that learning with other people is a highly effective way to learn. As detailed in this paper, our workshop equips and encourages students and faculty alike to appreciate group project work in terms of retention, access, and transfer of knowledge.
The workshop is timed to occur after project groups have been formed. During the workshop, students confer in their project groups, and each group develops a consensus list of characteristics of exemplary group members. These characteristics become the criteria they later use for peer assessment.
Over the course of many workshops in several years, we have collected these lists from hundreds of groups and have begun analyzing them for common patterns. We discuss encouraging results suggesting that even lower-division undergraduates list characteristics that align well with the conditions that the group learning and project management literatures identify as contributing to successful learning and project completion, respectively. We conjecture that much of the workshop’s value lies in two distinct outcomes: (1) helping students articulate and place confidence in their experientially derived knowledge concerning effective group work and (2) helping both students and faculty (re-)frame the group project as a uniquely powerful opportunity for learning—not just a means toward successful project completion.
Borgford-Parnell, J. L., & Yasuhara, K., & Ahmed, K. A., & Schipf, D. (2018, June), Work in Progress: Promoting Group Work for Learning: Student Characterizations of Exemplary Project Group Members Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31301
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