The benefits of cooperative and collaborative learning include more and deeper learning, higher levels of motivation, better participation, and improved social relationships. But group work presents logistical challenges, including its demands on class time and faculty time. In this jointly sponsored ITS/CETL lunch, we will explore strategies, including but not limited to the technological, for facilitating pedagogically meaningful student collaboration while keeping the logistics under control.
This session was conducted as parallel small group discussions on each of several questions about group work. Each group reported out, and the whole group chimed in. Cheryl Turner Elwell suggested technological strategies (such as wikis) relevant to each question, and Judy Miller suggested pedagogical strategies (such as the use of undergraduate Peer Learning Assistants). Resource materials provided included:
• a short paper on group work
• a sample team contract
• two sample forms for students to use to give feedback on each other's team work and a groupwork rubric
• a description of a method for using student evaluations of each other's team work in grading a group project. Judy has used this multiplier method in a large class where PLAs worked with each group to both develop a group contract and to facilitate group dynamics.
• Cheryl provided a printout of a paper on using technology to achieve the second (encouraging cooperation) of Chickering and Gamson's Seven Principles of Good Practice.