Learning about group work

by | 9 Jul, 2019 | 0 comments

It is a shared responsibility for both teachers and learners to make group work effective – to be authentic, relevant and practical.

For teachers, group work skills should not be assumed and need to be taught if students are to be work ready. For students there needs to be a preparedness to engage, contribute and to adapt to the intricacies of being an effective team member and collaborator – an important professional and personal attribute.

Collaboration has always been part of an effective student learning experience and one of the drivers for many of the newer architectural spaces we now see at UTS. As part of the ongoing transformation of learning and teaching at UTS, group work activities and assessment are an important part of the pedagogical approaches to developing student capability for evaluative judgement.

Resources

To learn more about group work in your teaching, consult this online resource to help lecturers and tutors manage and motivate student groups. Produced by Adam Morgan in the Institute for Interactive Media & Learning (IML) you can also read an overview of assessing group work. Here on Futures Adam shares some of his ideas on cultivating good team dynamics for group assignments.

Look out for posts here on Futures about collaboration, student engagement and active learning or download a short guide on collaborative learning. You might want to talk to your faculty librarian for assistance in locating the most respected guides and up to date resources on group work. You may want something specific to your particular challenge or discipline area.

If you are looking for material that you can give students to help make the most of group work activities visit the UTS HELPS website. There are tips specifically for students on engaging in effective Group Work and on Group Presentation Skills.

This short guide from Oxford Brookes University to getting the most from group work assessment summarises “the complex set of factors that need to be considered in designing and implementing group work assessment”.

The observational work of Benne and Sheats (1948) provides the basis for various distillations on constructive and destructive behaviours in groups. These types of behaviours can help inform an understanding of team dynamics and roles while serving a reference point for the criteria by which individuals might both self-reflect and judge their peers.

Further reading

Randall S. Hansen (2006) Benefits and Problems With Student Teams: Suggestions for Improving Team Projects. Journal of Education for Business, 2006, Vol.82(1), p.11-19. https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au/10.3200/JOEB.82.1.11-19

Davies (2009). Groupwork as a form of assessment: Common problems and recommended solutions. Higher Education October 2009, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 563–584. https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au/10.1007/s10734-009-9216-y

Bacon, Stewart and Silver (1999). Lessons from the best and worst student team experiences: How a teacher can make the difference. Journal of Management Education, October 1999, Vol.23(5), pp.467-488. https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au/10.1177/105256299902300503

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