Session - Effectiveness of Student Teams
The final session that I attended at the conference was a session on how to help student teams work effectively. It was presented and facilitated by Eric Rice and Richard Parsons.They did a good job facilitating the sessions, and one thing I really liked was that they hung posters that seemed to categorize effective teamwork into 5 general themes. I'll show these posters below and discuss how I think they can be implemented effectively into a team environment.
1. Formation of Groups
Teams need to be formed in the class. Groups seem to be most effective at around 4 group members. Be sure that they are composed of a variety of strengths and capacities. Keep in mind that these individuals may have had a history of working together.
2. Workload Distribution
Teams need to ensure that their work is distributed effectively so they can accomplish the tasks required. This distribution should consider the following components:
- Balance of the Quantity of work assigned
- Expectations and standards of Quality for the output desired
- Selection of Tasks related to the work
- Assignment of Ownership of each component of the work assigned
- Create mechanisms to control or penalize Social Loafing and Disengagement
Student teams must function efficiently, and having an effective schedule can help them to do this. The schedule should enable the students to complete each component within the time required. Schedules should include (a) when/how often to meet as a group, and (b) when to draft, revise, and submit work to the instructor.
4. Resolving Conflict
Sometimes conflict arises in a team environment. Students and instructors must establish methods for resolving this conflict.
5. Grading and Evaluation
When working with student teams, it is important that their work be effectively evaluated. This should include the following components:
- Peer Evaluation - have students evaluate one another so that you can understand how each individual contributed throughout the teamwork. This evaluation should occur frequently so that everyone has a feel for how they are doing and how they can improve.
- Individual Contributions - evaluation of each student should include an evaluation of what each individual contributed to the work completed. This will help you see how that individual contributed and see the quality of their work.
- Overall Grade - evaluation of the overall grade for the team is also key. This helps in the grading of the team as a whole.
- Rubrics and Standards - all evaluation should be based on rubrics and standards that are established from the beginning. This will help the students and teams see the end from the beginning and have something to work toward.