by Kris Gorman, Center for Teaching and Learning Consultant – University of Minnesota
A popular topic at recent workshops, seminars or faculty discussions I’ve attended is how to get students to effectively work on group or team projects. The same questions often arise:
- How do I assign the teams?
- How can I help prevent conflict?
- How do I ensure everyone is pulling their weight?
- What do I do if a team is dysfunctional?
Although the answers these questions may vary depending on the specifics of your class, I’ve found the recommendations in Oakley et al.’s “Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams” to be a very useful starting point. The article is written with science and engineering classes in mind, but is applicable to other contexts.
The authors offer straight-forward, evidence-based strategies for assigning groups, managing conflict, and conducting peer assessment. The appendix includes the forms that the authors use in their classes, which could be easily modified for any purpose.
You’ll find the full article here:
- Barbara Oakley, Richard M. Felder , Rebecca Brent, and Imad Elhajj. “Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams.” Journal of Student Centered Learning 2.1 (2004): 9-34. http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/Oakley-paper(JSCL).pdf